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From the painting by Scorel, 1517, now in the Louvre Gallery. 








191 1 







IN 1833, at the age of twenty-one, Robert 
Browning wrote his " Paracelsus," a poem which 
has to this day held its own as perhaps the 
most penetrating of his sympathetic revelations. 
The poet himself characterised such a poem 
as the dramatic revelation of a soul, generally 
that of an imaginary person. For this cause 
many readers and admirers of " Paracelsus " 
have classed it with others which owed their 
emergence from subjective chaos to the poet's 
creative power. But other readers were vaguely 
aware that a man bearing this name, and held 
for an extravagant and pretentious charlatan, 
made some small stir in the sixteenth century, 
and was dismissed from serious consideration as 
a bibulous braggart, uneducated, quarrelsome, 
self-assertive, and disreputable. Browning knew 
more than his readers, for he possessed some 
of Hohenheim's own writings and a few bio- 
graphical notes of his career mainly derived from 
the books of the man's inveterate foes and now 
known to be mendacious calumnies. The 



astonishing fact is that through this paucity 
of evidence and this cloud of hostile obscuration 
the poet discerned his greatness. 

About a quarter of a century ago, students 
at Leipzig, Berlin, Vienna, and Salzburg began 
to examine the neglected traces of Hohenheim's 
career and to estimate its importance to 
science. With that infinite patience, accuracy, 
and experienced judgment which distinguish 
German from nearly all other scholars, these 
men unravelled the tangled web of misrepre- 
sentation and rescued its golden thread of truth 
from the meshes. Dr. Sudhoff effected his 
masterly inquiry into the accumulated writings 
attributed to Paracelsus and published its 
results in the two volumes of his " Attempt at 
a Critical Estimate of the Authenticity of the 
Paracelsian Writings," the first of which ap- 
peared at Berlin in 1894. 

Dr. Carl Aberle investigated the portraits 
of all kinds, plastic and graphic, oil-paintings, 
sketches, copper-plate engravings and woodcuts, 
and systematised them ; and in pursuance of 
this laborious quest made almost as many pil- 
grimages as Paracelsus had made and discovered 
from legendary and oral tradition a mass of 
subsidiary but important biographical data. 
He continued too the surgical examinations of 
Hohenheim's skull and bones which were 
begun in Salzburg by his father and published 
their testimony in his valuable book " Monu- 


ment, Skull, and Portraiture of Theophrastus 
Paracelsus," at Salzburg, in 1891. 

Dr. Julius Hartmann made a close study of 
those books which Dr. Sudhoff recognised as 
authentic wiritings of Hohenheim and collected 
from them in chronological order all references 
to his active life, his journeys and personal 
experiences, compiling what resembles an auto- 
biography, which is a sine qua non to all students 
of his effort to reform medical science. 

Professors Franz Strunz at Leipzig and Carl 
Strunz at Vienna make the amazing genius 
of this persecuted man the subject of lectures 
to their students, and the former is editing an 
edition of his works in their original German 
with notes of explanation, and already both 
the " Paragranum " and the "Paramirum" have 

These men are pioneers in Paracelsian re- 
search and their work is attracting many 

To Browning's poem this " Life of Paracel- 
sus " owes its inspiration; to those pioneers 
and to his own works it owes its authenticity. 
Attracted to the subject by the tentative but 
unsatisfactory work of the Browning Society, 
of whose committee I was a member for some 
years, I meditated twenty years ago the possi- 
bility of writing a popular Life, which while 
based on accurate research should as far as 
possible reconstruct the sequence of his circum- 


stances and activities and rescue his memory 
from contemptuous oblivion. In 1840 Ambroise 
Fare's gifted biographer, Dr. Maignan, admitted 
and emphasised Hohenheim's brilliant services 
to science ; in 1895 an English writer on the 
History of Medicine pilloried him as a quack, 
impostor, and braggart. It was time that a 
biography which might place him in his due 
relation to the European renascence, one un- 
prejudiced by outworn theory, uninfluenced 
by the purposes of an exotic cult, should be 
written for readers in England. 

Work of other kinds hindered this under- 
taking until the early spring of 1910, when I 
was set free to carry out a project which after 
years of pondering had assumed the character 
of an imperative and sacred duty. At its outset 
I was encouraged by the opinion and advice of 
Dr. John Comrje, M.A., whose lectures in the 
University of Edinburgh upon the History of 
Medicine have already created wide interest in 
all that illuminates his subject, and to him I 
owe my thanks. 

To the Librarians of the Royal College of 
Physicians, and of the Advocates' Library in 
Edinburgh, and to those of other libraries at 
home and abroad, in which I became acquainted 
with the earliest editions of Hohenheim's works, 
I am indebted for constant courtesy and help. 

And to Mr. Murray, whose ready acceptance 
of the early chapters gave me just that experi- 


enced sympathy which more than any other 
influence rallies and reinforces the power of 
mind and application, I tender here my sincere 


June 12, 1911. 


IT is with deep regret that I have to announce the 
death of Miss Anna Stoddart within a few hours of 
the passing for press of the last sheets of this volume. 

This is not the place in which to give a biographical 
account of her, but the notices which have appeared 
in the leading newspapers afford ample testimony to 
the high esteem in which she and her educational work 
were held by a large circle of friends and admirers. 

For some years past her whole life and energies had 
been devoted to this work on Paracelsus. Her previous 
studies and her linguistic attainments specially fitted 
her for the task, and she spent many months in Ger- 
many and Italy in order to investigate on the spot the 
career of a very remarkable man who is known to the 
British public mainly through the works of Robert 

I trust that the public will give a favourable re- 
ception to this scholarly and conscientious work for the 
sake both of the author and the subject of it. 


September 1, 1911. 






YEARS OF TRAVEL . . . . . .61 














LAST YEARS ....... 274 




INDEX 301 




GALLERY ....... Frontispiece 








DOWN 1865 176 

SEVEN YEARS OLD ...... 280 




When Einsiedeln 
And its green hills were all the world to us. 

THE valley of Einsiedeln stretches from the two 

Mythen mountains on the south to Etzel on the 

north. Up to the end of the eighth century 

this high valley was uninhabited. Its streams 

and brooks found their way through forests to 

the Lake of Zurich. These forests knew the 

wolf's howl and the vulture's scream, but the 

voice of man was unheard beyond their fringe, 

where a few hovels here and there might be 

found. The whole district was a wilderness 

and was feared by the dwellers near the lake. 

The great snow-mountains which pass through 

the valley of Glarus, through Schwyz, Uri, and 

Unterwalden, bounded it on the south ; it 

pushed its way northwards to the meadows by 

the lake ; it reached Altmatt on the west, and on 

the east it skirted the upper lake and the march. 

This wilderness belonged to the Dukes of 

Alemannia, and was ecclesiastically within the 



diocese of the Bishops of Constance ; but al- 
though the nobles of Alemannia may have 
sometimes hunted on its outskirts, it was shunned 
generally as the Dark Forest and a region of 
sinister reputation. 

Such it was before the time of Meinrad, who 
was born towards the end of the eighth century. 
His family belonged to a branch out of the stem 
from which sprang the ancestors of the Imperial 
House of Germany, and his father was a Count 
of Zollern. He lived near Rottenburg, in the 
valley of the Neckar, and there Meinrad, or 
Meginrat, spent his childhood. The boy was 
serious-minded, and his father saw in this quality 
a monition that he was suited for the Church 
rather than for the world. He took him to a 
famous monastic school upon the Island of 
Reichenau, probably influenced in his choice 
by the fact that a relation of his own, called 
Erlebald, was one of its instructors. Much 
country round the lakes of Zurich and Constance 
was already christianised, some of it by the 
devoted Irish missionaries Columban and Gallus, 
and the latter's memory is enshrined in the name 
of St. Gallen. For Ireland was a base of mis- 
sionary enterprise in those days, and with the 
Cross it sent forth the light of education. Ger- 
many and France looked to Ireland for schooling, 
because its learning, its music, its arts of design 
and manufacture were in advance of the crude 
Anglian and Alemannic civilisations. 

822] MEINRAD 3 

Still, part of Helvetia and Alemannia was 
heathen to all intents and purposes, and only 
the nobles sought learning for their sons in 
* the monastic schools. \ 

Count Zollern's wise insight was endorsed 
by the event. From the beginning Meinrad 
lent a willing ear to his instructors. He took 
to study with zeal, mastered Latin and theo- 
logy, was diligent in the scriptorium, became 
expert in Church formula and ritual, and sought 
the grave exercises of the cloister rather than 
boyish sports and distractions. So gentle and 
willing a pupil endeared himself to the monks, 
and they encouraged his bias towards the 
priestly life. He spent his youth and early 
manhood at Reichenau and took deacon's and 
priest's orders when he was twenty-five years 
old. In 822, Erlebald was made abbot of the 
monastery, and shortly afterwards Meinrad 
entered the order of St. Benedict and submitted 
himself wholly to its rigorous Rule. His learning 
fitted him for scholarly rather than for physical 
labour, and he copied the whole of the Scriptures 
as well as several books of devotion. He 
taught in the school, and after some time was 
sent to Bollingen on the upper Lake of Zurich, 
where Reichenau had a dependent house and 
school, established to meet the Emperor Char- 
lemagne's desire for a wider distribution of 
educational facilities in that neighbourhood. 

Meinrad performed his duties obediently and 


diligently, but his heart was in the devotional, 
not in the secular vocation of monasticism. 
Across the narrow lake he could see the wooded 
wilderness when after a night of prayer he 
watched the sun rise on its mountains. Their 
dark recesses drew him with irresistible mag- 
netism. Yonder was solitude, and he yearned 
for solitude with God. Had not St. Benedict 
in his Rule enjoined " the battle of the soul in 
the desert, where only God is present, and other 
help there is none to maintain the soul's warfare 
against temptation " ? 

He could not walk by the lake's shore without 
experiencing an agony of longing as he gazed. 
At last he decided to cross the lake and explore 
the ground. Some of his pupils accompanied 
him, and they climbed till they reached the 
slopes of the High Etzel. Here the boys stopped 
to fish in the Sihl, but Meinrad pushed upwards 
into the forest, and found a spot on the lower 
slope fit for a hermitage. As teacher and 
pupils fared back to the southern shore, they 
came upon a little village, now called Altendorf, 
where a kindly woman promised to provide 
for his maintenance those things that were 
necessary to existence, and to carry them to a 
point on the forest's edge from which at stated 
times he could fetch them. 

Meinrad returned to Bollingen with his boys 
and then sought Abbot Erlebald to lay before 
him his heart's desire. Erlebald talked the 


whole matter out with him and became aware 
that solitude was God's will for him and must 
be obeyed. Meinrad received his permission 
and made his preparation for the change, giving 
to the monastery of Reichenau nearly all the 
copies which he transcribed there. He re- 
tained the Rule of St. Benedict, his Mass-book, 
and a few sacred writings. He left for the 
Etzel some time in 829, and there, just where 
now the chapel stands, he built a little hut 
and began the hermit life. 

Unfortunately, the solitude he had sought 
was disturbed. There was a great mental rest- 
lessness in those difficult days of transition, and 
the spectacle of a man who knew his own mind 
and set himself to win a closer communion with 
God than even the monastery could afford 
appealed to many wistful men and women. 
They climbed the rough hill that led to his 
hermitage to seek counsel, comfort, and inter- 
cession. Others followed out of curiosity, and 
the object of his renunciation seemed to be 
thwarted. He bore the intrusion bravely for 
seven years. Doubtless in winter, when the 
High Etzel is mantled with snow, he could re- 
cover, but during the greater part of the year 
pilgrims flocked to seek his blessing. His 
hermitage was too near the world, and he de- 
cided to push further into the heart of the 
dark forest to escape its contact. About 
four miles he travelled towards the pyramidal 


Mythens, which stand sentinel on the south, 
and there he found a plain thickly wooded but 
level and walled on the east by the prolonged 
semi-circular heights of the Freiherrenberg. 
He halted just below them, and with the help 
of some woodcutters he rebuilt his hermitage. 
In the neighbourhood the Alp rustled through 
the fir-trees, a streamlet whose pure water 
ministered to his daily needs. 

Round the shores of Lake Zurich many 
religious houses had been established. Over 
one of these, a convent, the Abbess Hildegard, 
a king's daughter and a holy woman, presided. 
Moved to admiration and compassion for a 
renunciation which lacked even the objective 
aids to devotion, she sent Meinrad a Madonna 
and Child carved in wood, and it is supposed 
aided him to build a little sanctuary in which 
to place this treasure. Another abbess, Heil- 
wiga of Schannis, gave him an altar, candle- 
sticks, incense, and wax, perhaps too the priestly 
equipment for his daily services. " Our Lady 
of Einsiedeln " was installed, no more to leave 
the spot in which her honour dwells. For the 
Madonna and Child of the Holy Chapel in the 
monastery -church of Einsiedeln, at whose shrine 
more than a hundred thousand pilgrims yearly 
pray, kneeling while they listen to the Salve 
Regina sung every afternoon the most touching 
intercessory laud surely ever heard, with its 
wail as of the wind amongst the fir-branches, its 


cry for deliverance as of lonely souls in conflict 
is the wooden statue sent thither by the Abbess 
Hildegard nearly eleven hundred years ago. 

Here Meinrad had peace from the world, 
although now and again distressed souls sought 
his help, and from time to time one of the 
brothers from Reichenau would come to visit 
him. From the evil within and the powers of 
darkness he suffered fierce assault, but overcame 
in the might of the Cross, and we are told that 
God sent him visible messengers of consolation 
once in the form of Jesus, the little Jesus. His 
hour of recreation was passed in the forest, 
walking to and fro, and a pair of young ravens 
whom he fed from his hand with crumbs of 
his scanty meals attached themselves to him, 
as long centuries before two ravens had attached 
themselves to St. Benedict. 

For hard work he had his axe, and he cleared 
a space round the chapel and cell. When this 
was done he began to clear the plain in front 
of them and so to reclaim the wilderness. For 
twenty-five years St. Meinrad dwelt in his 
hermitage or Einsiedelei. In his later years 
pilgrims, many of them nobles, sought him out 
in their times of affliction and contrition, and 
the way to the Einsiedelei became a well-trodden 
path. He would receive their confessions, 
restore and console them, celebrate Mass for 
them and send them away renewed and re- 


But the fame of these visits reached the ears 
of evil men, and they reasoned that in his soli- 
tude he must have much wealth accumulated, 
gifts of gold and silver vessels for his sanctuary, 
which could be converted into wealth. A Ger- 
man and a Rhaetian resolved to kill him. 
Father Odilo Ringholz tells the story of their 
crime. Meinrad, while celebrating his early 
Mass, was made aware of approaching death 
and of special divine preparation. He spent 
the whole day in prayer. At evening his mur- 
derers came. He received them with friendly 
greeting and shared his bread and water with 
them. When it grew dark, they fell upon him 
with clubs and beat him to death. But as he 
died they saw lighted tapers round his body 
and a perfume as of incense came from it. In 
terror they fled, not daring to enter the sanctu- 
ary. The ravens, who had watched their crime, 
rose from their perch screaming with rage and 
pursued them all the way to Zurich, so that they 
were unable to find refuge and were thrown 
into prison. Their brutal sacrilege was dis- 
covered and the Archduke Adalbert condemned 
them to be burnt to death. 

When the news reached Reichenau, Abbot 
Walter and some of the monks went up to the 
hermitage and carried Meinrad's heart to his 
hut-chapel on the Etzel and his body to Reich- 
enau, there to be buried with every sacred rite. 
This was in January 861. 

927] BENNO 9 

So far we have lingered over the story of 
Einsiedeln, whose importance rose out of the 
memory of its saint and out of the pilgrimages 
which kept it alive. Now, we can only glance 
at the events of the six centuries which separate 
v. the death of St. Meinrad from the birth of 
A Paracelsus, and at these as they affected the 
growth of Einsiedeln. }( 

For nearly half a century there is nothing to 
record. The chapel and hermitage fell almost 
into ruins, for the occasional pilgrimages did 
not avail to keep them in repair. But early 
in the tenth century, a dignitary of Strassburg 
Cathedral came with some followers, drawn 
by the two-fold cord of St. Meinrad's memory 
and the longing for solitude. Benedict, better 
known as Benno, set to work to repair the build- 
ing and to add cells to the hermitage, one for 
each, for they practised the hermit life, not that 
of an established order. When the building 
was done, they followed Meinrad's example 
and felled trees in front of and around their 
settlement. The wide meadow now called the 
Bruel is due to their toil, as is a large stretch 
of arable land west of the Alp and still called 
Bennau. But in 927, Benno, against his will, 
was made Bishop of Metz and had to leave 
his little flock in the Dark Forest. He found 
the city of Metz given over to wickedness and 
admonished its citizens from the pulpit. His 
reward was their hatred, and when King^Henry, 


who had appointed him, was absent, they hired 
two knaves to lie in wait for him and put out 
his eyes. The ruffians added blows to this 
crime, and Benno sought release from the Synod 
and went back to Einsiedeln. He was very 
gladly welcomed and cared for and lived eleven 
peaceful, devout years till his death in 940. 
Six years before he died there came to join him 
another Canon of Strassburg, like himself a 
man of noble birth and possessing a large for- 
tune. He brought with him a number of 
followers, and Benno made him abbot. 

This Eberhard proposed to devote his money 
to the building of a church and monastery 
on the site of St. Meinrad's hermitage, to re- 
organise the hermit into the monastic life and 
to adopt the Rule of St. Benedict. To all this 
Benno gladly consented, but it was not till 
after his death that the buildings were begun. 
Amongst Eberhard's relatives were the wealthy 
Duke Hermann of Suabia and his wife the 
Duchess Reginlinde. The Duke bestowed large 
sums on these buildings, and his name is 
coupled with that of Eberhard as founder of the 
Church at Einsiedeln. He gave the ground on 
which it was built as well as the neighbouring 
land as far as the Etzel to the monastery, and 
secured from Emperor Otto I. a decree granting 
to the monks liberty to elect their abbot 
without interference. This decree admitted the 
abbot to the rank of Prince- Abbot, 


It was towards the end of 947 that the build- 
ings were finished. The church stood round 
and over St. Meinrad's little chapel which was 
preserved in its original form with its altar 
and Madonna. Church and chapel were ready 
for consecration. They were within the diocese 
of Constance to which Einsiedeln belonged till 
the beginning of the eighteenth century and 
the Bishop of Constance was asked to perform 
the solemn rite. The Bishop of Augsburg was 
invited to be present and brought with him 
some relics of St. Maurice as a gift. 

Bishop Conrad of Constance was a man of 
deeply devotional nature and habit and rose 
about midnight on the eve of the consecration 
to pray in the new church. As he entered, the 
most wonderful singing met his ear. Some of 
the Benedictine monks were in the church and 
with him they went to the door of the little 
chapel, from which the sound proceeded. Look- 
ing in with reverent astonishment, they found 
the chapel lighted up and a great choir of angels 
conducting its consecration with chant and 
prayer and ceremony according to the ritual 
of the Church. They listened till the celestial 
function was ended and then returned to the 
monastery with hearts uplifted and amazed. 
The Bishop felt that in the human ceremony 
of the following day the chapel had no share, 
for God had consecrated it. 

When Eberhard and the assembled monks 


were told, they were astonished and troubled, 
and feared that Conrad and their brothers had 
seen a mocking vision, or were carried away 
by a fantasy. They entreated the Bishop to 
begin and complete the ceremony as it had been 
arranged. He yielded very reluctantly and 
the consecration began at the chapel. Scarcely 
had the first words been spoken when a voice 
from above said three times in reverberating 
tones : " Stop, brother, the chapel is already 
consecrated by God." 

Afterwards, when Bishop Conrad was in Rome, 
he related all that he had seen and heard to 
Pope Leo VIII. and received from him a Bull 
forbidding any attempt in future to reconse- 
crate the chapel. 

This incident roused the whole neighbourhood, 
and pilgrimages began to a spot so honoured 
by Heaven. These have continued in increasing 
numbers during the nine centuries and a half 
which have elapsed. To-day there is no dimi- 
nution in their number, no relapse in their 
devotions. In the thirteenth century, the 
monastery was permitted to use a seal and chose 
the Madonna and Child for its impression, 
while the abbot's shield includes the two faith- 
ful ravens of St. Meinhard flying at full speed as 
after his assassins. 

The oldest picture of Einsiedeln belongs to 
about 1513, and shows the church and monastery 
against the wooded slope behind, closely beset 


by small houses, and in the Briiel groups of 
boys playing near a little church apparently 
at snowballing, with a few grave and reverend 
seniors watching the sport. There was a school 
three centuries before this date, superintended 
by the Benedictines, and the schoolmaster at 
the beginning of the fourteenth century com- 
posed some lines in honour of the church, which 
freely translated run as follows : 

Some minsters from relics of saints have renown, 

Some from dignities kings have bestowed in their love, 
But ours can glory in both, and for crown, 

In her great consecration by choirs from above. 
Holy Virgin ! God set apart here to thy praise 

His temple that we might be saved at thy shrine : 
Here pilgrims implore thee in love and amaze 

Weak and strong receive from thee all favours divine. 

Through good and evil days Maria Einsiedeln 
endured. Working people and tradespeople 
gathered to the little town, to provide for the 
needs of the multitudes who visited the Holy 
Chapel, and a secular life began which was in 
sympathetic subjection to the Benedictine 
authority. But before the end of the fifteenth 
century much trouble had befallen this ener- 
getic community. The Benedictines were mis- 
sionaries, church-builders, founders of religious 
houses, promoters of education and of learning. 
Part of their revenues, whether from gifts or 
from their increasing territorial property, was 
expended on these important undertakings. 

The first misfortune occurred in 1029, when 


church and cloister were burnt down through 
either malice or mishap, but certainly by an 
enemy called Eberhard, whose interference with 
their elections of an abbot had been thwarted. 
The neighbouring nobles detested the liberty 
enjoyed by the monks to elect their abbot and 
tried to arouse hostility against it. But added 
to this it is probable that their influence and 
energy in reform of the neglected inhabitants 
within a wide radius of Einsiedeln were at the 
root of this enmity. The struggle lasted fifty 
years, and by strength of arms the nobles once 
managed to force an abbot of their choosing 
upon the monastery. When this danger was 
past, there followed a lengthy intermittent 
strife with the townspeople of Schwyz, who in 
1314 broke violently into the church, plundered 
all its valuables and flung the monks into prison. 
Austria interfered in 1315 on behalf of Ein- 
siedeln, but her army was defeated in the battle 
of Morgarten. 

These disasters were so prolonged and so 
mischievous that the Benedictines lost by them 
a full half of their land in the Dark Forest, but 
managed to retain their independence and their 
rights. Peace was concluded with Schwyz, by 
the arbitration of the Abbot of Disentis, at 
one time a monk of Einsiedeln. These successive 
quarrels embittered more than two centuries, 
and during the troubles with Schwyz, in 1226, 
the cloister was burnt down a second time. 

1327] ABBOT JOHN 15 

Before the fourteenth century began even, the 
prosperity of the tenth seemed to have dwindled 
away. But even at its lowest secular estate, the 
abbots of Einsiedeln were constantly called to 
episcopal office in other places. 

Abbot John I. had much to do with its restor- 
ation. A man of affairs, of piety and of learning, 
he raised the standard of worship as well in 
detail as in spirit ; he improved the methods 
of study, and worked without pause to provide 
the means for restoring the much- injured build- 
ings. Pilgrimages had become rarer during the 
troubles, but revived under his encouragement. 
He died in 1327, and was fortunately succeeded 
by men whom he had himself inspired, and by 
the beginning of the fifteenth century Einsiedeln 
had partially recovered her prosperity. Her 
dignity she never lost. 

During this century several dependent reli- 
gious houses were established in the neigh- 
bourhood of the monastery, some of them for 
women, and these in the following century were 
combined into a community of Benedictine 

Peace and progress had come to the valley. 
The monastery was aristocratic in its social 
character. No monk was made abbot unless 
he could pass an examination into his family 
claims. He must show testimony to fourteen 
noble ancestors. Dean Albrecht von Bonstettin 
says in his Chronicle of 1494 : 


" This house of God and church shall be a 
hospital of refuge for the Princes, Counts, land- 
owners and their children, as it is written in 
the chronicles and has been in custom for a long 

Four abbots of high rank succeeded each 
other during the fifteenth century, the last of 
these being Conrad of Hohenrechberg, who was 
elected in 1480. Already, in his time, the strict 
observance of this qualification was considerably 
discussed. It was said that the devotional 
character of the monastery suffered from its 
social influence and that its discipline was greatly 
relaxed. In common with most religious houses 
of that date, Einsiedeln laid itself open to criti- 
cism and censure. 

The first breath of the reformation had 
roused serious thinking in Bohemia and England, 
and when the wind of the Spirit is set in motion 
it passes from land to land. We may surmise that 
the failure of the Christian Church to maintain 
its high purpose in the fourteenth and -fifteenth 
centuries was the main cause of that revolution 
which men call the Reformation. Like science, 
the Church in those times had become a dis- 
cordant echo of its past. Its spiritual life was 
failing, and the forces which gathered their 
impetus slowly and silently, in men touched 
by the Spirit, from the spectacle of a Church 
at odds with God, at odds with man, found a 


volcanic vent in their action and a challenge 
on their tongues of fire. 

Under the gentle Conrad of Hohenrechberg 
there was no attempt at Einsiedeln to meet or 
refute the charges. He was abbot from 1480 
to 1526, when the premonitory tremblings had 
become upheaval. 

There was need, shortly after his election, 
of a physician to take charge of the sick in the 
town and of the pilgrim-hospital. The choice 
devolved upon the abbot. He summoned 
Dr. Wilhelm Bombast von Hohenheim, of whom 
Archbishop Netzhammer in his admirable " Life 
of Paracelsus " says : 

" Wilhelm von Hohenheim was no bath and 
barber doctor, but a celebrated physician, 
trained in the best schools, who had acquired 
at Tubingen his degree of Licentiate of Medicine, 
as a chronicle of Villach tells us." 

The name indicates his rank, but for fuller 
information we have to thank the latest autho- 
rities on the parentage of Paracelsus, Dr. Sud- 
hoff, Dr. Carl Aberle, Dr. Strunz, and Dr. Hart- 
mann, who have made careful investigation 
into his status by birth. Were it not for the 
malignity of his son's enemies, contemporary 
and posthumous, it would be unnecessary to 
dwell at length on Wilhelm von Hohenheim 's 
ancestry, but mendacious biographies of Para- 
celsus have been so long credited that it be- 


comes a duty briefly to give the fruits of the 
latest research. 

A soldier called Conrad Bombast von Hohen- 
heim lived in 1270 and was known then as a 
feudal tenant of the Count of Wirtemberg. 
He died in 1299, leaving as his executor a Fried- 
rich von Hohenheim. A close relation between 
the Counts of Wirtemberg and this family is 
evidenced by the lands and revenue which the 
Bombasts von Hohenheim could claim. This 
Conrad lived at Castle Hohenheim near Stutt- 
gart and collected tithes from Plieningen and 
one-half of the revenue of Ober-Esslingen, and 
these rights lasted through the fourteenth and 
well into the fifteenth century. A family called 
Spat bought the feudal tenancy and rights 
from them in 1432 with Count Ulrich of Wirtem- 
berg's permission. Wilhelm von Hohenheim 
married a lady of this family. He was a knight 
who in 1461 rode with Count Ulrich against the 
Count Palatine Friedrich and in 1492 shared 
the expedition to Landshut under Count Eber- 
hard of Wirtemberg, accompanied by his brother 
George Bombast von Hohenheim. This hap- 
pened just a year before the birth of Paracelsus, 
whose father had been already eleven years in 

This George von Hohenheim had accompanied 
Count Eberhard on a pilgrimage to the Holy 
Land in 1468, and in his later life had entered 
the Order of the Knights of St. John, in which 

1481-91] ARRIVAL AND WORK 19 

he held high rank. He had a nephew Wilhelm 
Bombast von Hohenheim, whom we claim as 
the young doctor summoned from Suabia by 
Conrad von Hohenrechberg in 1481. The name 
Bombast, Bambast, Baumbast, or in its oldest 
form Banbast, was special to this branch of 
the von Hohenheims. Its fortunes were de- 
clining and his father, who lived at Riet, was 
neither a soldier nor wealthy. The son was 
educated for a profession in which he could 
make his own way. 

After his arrival in Einsiedeln, he must have 
lived quietly and laboriously, studying too, 
both chemistry and botany, and making herbal 
medicine a special interest. He had many 
valuable manuscripts, copies perhaps made in 
Tubingen, and they comprised the chief thinking 
his time in medicine, chemistry, astrology, 
and their cognate arts. When he was thirty- 
four years old, he married a lady of a family 
well known in Einsiedeln, Ochsner by name, 
whose father was probably the Rudi Ochsner 
who lived at the Sihl bridge. She held the posi- 
tion of matron of the pilgrim-hospital, under 
the abbot's administration, and the doctor 
must have come into frequent contact with her 
while attending invalid pilgrims professionally. 

In honour of his marriage, which took place 
in 1491, Dr. Wilhelm von Hohenheim had his 
portrait taken. It is now in Salzburg in the 
Museum Carolina Augusteum, and illuminates 


for us many matters which might otherwise 
have remained doubtful. His age is stated 
on a scroll to his left, just under the von 
Hohenheim shield, which bears three blue balls 
on a white band. On his right, in the left 
corner of the picture, is the head of an ox, not 
heraldically displayed, but probably connected 
with the family name of his bride. In his 
right hand he holds a carnation, the customary 
sign of a bridegroom. A small arched window 
on his right looks upon a road bordered by 
rocks and fir-trees, down whose slope a man on 
horseback and a pedestrian are wending, and 
this may be intended for the pilgrim-way to 
the High Etzel. The portraiture is most in- 
teresting and is well painted in oil upon a wooden 
panel. It shows a man of thirty-four years 
old, dressed in professional black and wearing 
a beret which covers the upper part of the head, 
all but a ring of thick and curling hair high on 
his brow and rather low on his neck. The face 
is finely featured, full of thought, gentle, kindly, 
deeply lined round the mouth, with delicately 
arched eyebrows and eyes in which wisdom, 
humour, and some sadness dwell. He wears 
two rings, one on the third finger of either hand. 
We gather that in 1491 Wilhelm von Hohen- 
heim was a student, a man of kindliest temper, 
a gentleman who had the right to bear the arms 
of his family and to transmit them to his son, 
who always used them. 

Painted in 1491, now in the Museum Carolina- Augusteum, Salzburg. 
P. 20] 


Dr. Carl Aberle suggests some of the picture's 
probable vicissitudes before it was placed in 
the museum at Salzburg. It is said to have 
been seen in 1760 in the house of a merchant 
of that city, and its owner spoke of it as having 
hung in Paracelsus 's sitting-room, when 
lived there ; a century later, it was in the pos- 
session of Herr Josef Mossl, who died in 1885, 
and who inherited it from his father, by whom 
it had been bought from a man called Scham- 
huber in the service of the Archbishop of Salz- 
burg late in the eighteenth century. 

The Ochsner family lived in a house on the 
further side of the bridge over the Sihl and close 
to the ascent to the Etzel. The original house 
was burnt down about 1838, and the building 
which took its place is not altogether a repro- 
duction. In a map of old Einsiedeln and its 
neighbourhood, bridge and house are given as 
they were when Dr. von Hohenheim brought 
his wife to her father's home. There were two 
good stories in the long building, and the upper 
of these was assigned to the young couple. 
We hear little more of the doctor's wife. She 
was doubtless a quiet, devout, capable woman, 
who kept to her home duties after marriage. 

The home was beautifully placed. It was 
approached from Einsiedeln by a hilly road 
which reached the Sihl bridge down a steep 
descent. The river rushed through a gorge, its 
banks clad with fir-trees and rich in plants and 


wild flowers. The house stood a little back 
from the end of the covered bridge, its windows 
looking towards the pilgrim- way up the Etzel. 
Behind it stretched meadows where cattle grazed. 
The bridge, known as the Teufels-briicke, was 
rebuilt a century and a half ago, but as nearly 
as possible in its original form, so that one 
can realise to-day most of the features familiar 
to the inmates of the Ochsner house. 



The Ages 

Coming and going all the while till dawned 
His true time's advent. 

X HERE, on November 10, 1493, their boy was 
born. He was christened Theophrastus in 
honour of a Greek thinker and follower of 
Aristotle, JTheophrastus Tyrtamos of Eresusj 
physician, botanist, and mineralogist, whom his 
father specially admired. " Philip " may have 
been prefixed to this name, but it was not used 
by Paracelsus himself at all, and for " Aureole," 
it seems to have been conferred on him by his 
admirers in later life, and in 1538 he used it 
in the title of a document. Aureolus was a 
name of honour given to Theophrastus Tyrtamos 
and may have been playfully used by the doctor 
to h}s son. There was perhaps some faint 
luminous effluence from his face, as there has 
been from other men of genius, which won him 
this pet name. In looking at the portrait, 
wrongly ascribed to Tintoretto, drawn when 
Paracelsus was twenty- eight years old, there is 
an apparent attempt to indicate such a light 



about his head. But it was not till after his 
death that the name was freely used by his 
biographers and publishers. His full name, set 
down without hypothetic additions, was Theo- 
phrastus Bombast von Hohenheim. 

He was a difficult child to rear. Small, 
fragile, with a tendency to rickets, he required 
constant attention. This he received from his 
father, who watched him with anxious tender- 
ness. Dr. von Hohenheim had discovered for 
himself the healing and strengthening value of 
open air, and when he was old enough Theo- 
phrastus was his constant companion and learned 
from him the names and uses of herbs for healing 
for lotions, for potions, for poisons, for an- 
tidotes. This was his first reading of a page 
of God's book of nature. No fuller or more 
attractive page could be read than in the country 
round his own home. Father Martin Gander 
has catalogued the flora of Einsiedeln, of moun- 
tains, forest, meadow, lake, swamp, and road- 
side, and in his little book, published by Messrs. 
Benziger, we can discover what the little boy 
discovered in his earliest perusal of it. 

Pharmacy had not reached a registered and 
acknowledged status in Europe, as it had done 
in China, Egypt, Judea, and Greece more than 
a thousand years before the Christian era. In- 
deed, the first European pharmacopoeia belonged 
1542, the year after Paracelsus 

died. But most of the herbal medicines known 


to us now were known in the middle ages, and 
the religious houses cultivated them in their 
gardens and so kept up their use. But they 
were often administered inaccurately, and 
patients were forced to swallow mixtures which 
added to their suffering and sometimes hastened 
their end. The decoctions from herbs, however, 
were less repulsive than the mineral and animal 
brews given with prayers and holy water and a 
devout abstinence from fresh air. 

On the meadows, banks, and in the woods, 
by the Sihl streams and in the Sihl valley, 
where swamps abound, spring, summer, autumn, 
and winter bring countless plants to bloom and 
fruition. In the meadows, primulas, gentians, 
daisies, salvia, ranunculus, orchises, camomile, 
colchicum, borage, angelica, fennel, kummel, 
poppies, and martagon lilies succeed each 
other. In the woods, pirolas of five varieties, 
woodroof, belladonna, datura, violets, and wild 
berries are plentiful. On the banks and road- 
sides are campanulas, foxgloves, chicory, cen- 
taurea, many different veronicas, geums, mint, 
thyme, vervain, smilax, lychnis, St. John's 
wort, potentillas, ribes, and witch-herb. On 
the swamps are the mealy primrose in great 
patches of lavender and purple, sundews, myo- 
sotis, pinguiculas, mallows, equisetums, selagin- 
ella, a rare orchis relic of an older world ; 
and on the moors and mountain slopes erica, 
azalia, alpenrose, saxifrage, grass of Parnassus, 


dianthus, wild plum and wild berries abound. 
These are but a few of the plants in Father 
Gander's list, which includes a large number 
of other medicinal herbs and some to which 
magical powers were ascribed. 

Theophrastus must have learnt them all by 
his father's side, when the doctor made his 
professional rounds on foot. They were long 
rounds, sometimes leading him over the Etzel 
to the villages on the shores of Lake Zurich, 
sometimes taking him southward to Einsiedeln 
and its outlying farms, on other days needing 
briefer trudging to the hamlets and farms 
within a mile or two of the Sihl bridge. When 
early summer brought the pilgrims, his attend- 
ance would be divided between the Etzel and 

It has been suggested that his home served 
as a refreshment house for the pilgrims as they 
came down from the chapel and that a wheel 
was hung up on pilgrimage days to indicate 
that wine could be bought there. This rests 
on an assumption due to the presence of a 
wheel lying by the roadside in the landscape 
of his portrait, but it is nowhere confirmed. 
What is quite possible is that over-tired and 
delicate pilgrims found rest and care there 
and perhaps restoring draughts of wine. 

These days would lead to many questions from 
the child and many answers from his father. 
A sad surmise haunts one, as one seeks to re- 


construct his childhood, that the mother was no 
longer there, but had passed away while he was 
still young. He was so entirely in his father's 
care, and he suffered much from lack of suitable 
nourishment. But that he was brought up 
in a religious home is proved by his strong 
conviction of the profound importance of re- 
ligion in after-years. For Paracelsus there 
were only two subjects of paramount interest 
in life : God in Heaven to be worshipped and 
trusted, God in nature. and. in man to be passion- 
ately sought a,ftpr. As a child he would accept 
all that he was taught, in youth and manhood 
he thought for himself, but never once lost 
sight of the great eternal truths. To him, as 
we shall see, Jesus Christ was the divine teacher 
and example, wh_ose...._jfeto required positive 
obedience, not casuistic interpretation to vanish- 
ing point. We may accept from his own later 
reminiscences that his father was his first in- 
structor in Latin, botany, alchemy, herbal 
medicine, surgery, and religious history . But 
there were influences at work for which Dr. von 
Hohenheim was not responsible. These were 
due to the spirit of his time and were not only 
born within him, but were rapidly both mentally 
and ethically developed. 

Young as he was, he must have known the 
great events in Switzerland, which had national- 
ised so many of its cantons in the fourteenth 
century, and in the fifteenth had defended 


the confederacy against Charles of Burgundy 
and Austria. In the very year which brought 
his father to Einsiedeln, the Convention of 
Stanz had taken place, which not only included 
new cantons but endorsed the older constitu- 
tional decrees and was the basis of the Swiss 
Con federation for thrfifi hundred years. The 
sentiment of individual canton self-government 
combined with a united executive found ex- 
pression in those centuries, and of that rapid 
development in liberty and law Theophrastus 
must have heard, for Schwyz had always taken 
a prominent part in the wars, foreign and internal, 
of Switzerland. 

And outside Switzerland events were taking 
place which were soon to draw this Confederacy 
into the whirlpool of their results, on whose 
verge most of Europe found itself. 

Dr._JFranz Strunz in the able and eloquent 
introduction to his " Life and Personality of 
Paracelsus " calls our attention to them. A 
new era was in birth, its predecessor in travail 
but bringing forth a great generation of men 
and of achievements ; printing discovered : the 
arts turning to nature : science reconsidering 
its formulas and its assertions : theology called 
to account for its systems and its limitations : 
a new freedom opening its vistas to men's 
minds : the giant Antaeus awaking from slumber 
on his mother earth to renew his struggle with 
ignorance, superstition, and prejudice. 


In the infancy of the new age Paracelsus was 
an infant. 

" The History of the Renascence," says Dr. 
Strunz, " philosophic as well as artistic, with 
its thousand inspirations,, its thousand voices, 
must have reached Paracelsus, and we must 
endeavour to trace how this wonderful manifesta- 
tion of his time affected the lonely investigator 
of nature and medicine lonely amidst the erring 
crowds who followed the philosophic methods 
of the middle ages how to him it may have 
seemed that old things were doomed to pass 
away and all things to become new. . . . The 
Renascence concealed a deeply rooted spiritual 
condition, an immense inner cleavage between 
the dying age and its bondsmen's creed and the 
world given over to the devil ; between the 
absence of law and lawlessness. It was from 
the spirit of the Renascence that Paracelsus 
received his impulse towards the light of nature, 
towards scientific Induction and comparison. 
Its alliance with the spiritual forces of the 
Reformation in both the narrower and wider 
sense of the word along with its influence upon 
men's souls an influence not directly due to 
Luther explains to us the other side of his 

These influences were in active diffusion be- 
fore Luther on the one side and Paracelsus 
on the other had given them voice. Two 
hundred and fifty years earlier another lonely 
soul had received vision, which pierced through 


the accumulated darkness of fifteen centuries 
and discovered the key that could unlock God's 
treasure-house of nature, but men cried shame 
upon the sacrilege, and Roger Bacon's plea for 
experimental research was stifled and his writ- 
ings were shunned and forgotten. His " Opus 
Majus " was not rescued from its tattered manu- 
script until a year after the death of Paracelsus, 
so unready was the Western world to accept 
a solution of the great enigmas till it was shaken 
loose from mental bondage by the Renascence 
and the Reformation. 

The time was now eager to bring to new birth, j 
In 1483 Luther, in 1493 Paracelsus was born : 
Pico della Mirandola died a year afterwards : 
in 1510 Girolamo Cardano, in 1517 Ambroise 
I Pare was born : Copernicus was their contem- 
LjLQrary. It was all one birth, new religious | 
expression, new thought, new science, new art. 
And these were only amongst the many voices 
of that great human restlessness which desired 
what it could not formulate until they came. 

It is impossible now to estimate how far the 
child came into contact with Benedictine in- 
fluence. Apparently there is only one mocking 
allusion to him in the monastic archives of 
Einsiedeln, written after his death when he 
could make no reprisal. He was only nine 
years old when he left, but sufficiently old to 
be well acquainted with the church and its 


It was burnt down in 1465, in 1509, and again 
in 1577. We do not know its form between 
1493 and 1502 ; but there is an old picture of 
Einsiedeln in 1577, which preserves for us its 
appearance then before its last destruction by 
fire. The rebuilding was long delayed for lack of 
funds, so that the present church was erected 
late in the seventeenth century, as its baroque 
architecture indicates. 

In 1502 Dr. Wilhelm von Hohenheim was 
appointed to be town physician at Villach in 
Karinthia. We have a trustworthy record of 
the thirty-two years which he spent there in 
a document dated May 12, 1538, four years 
after his death. Its purpose was to bear witness 
to his son's right to the property left by him, 
which it does in the following terms : 

6 We, the magistrates, council, and whole 
community of Villach, bear open testimony in 
this letter that the learned and famous Wilhelm 
Bombast von Hohenheim, Licentiate of Medicine, 
lived amongst us in Villach for thirty-two years 
and all the time of his residence led an honour- 
able life and behaviour. With good will we 
witness to his rectitude and to his just and 
blameless conduct, as it is incumbent on us to 
do. In 1534, exactly on the birthday of our 
Beloved Lady, he departed this life here in 
Villach. May God the Almighty be merciful to 
his soul. Of the said Wilhelm Bombast von 
Hohenheim, the most honourable and learned 
Herr Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, 


Doctor in both Arts of Medicine, is son by 
marriage and next heir, and was held by the 
aforesaid Wilhelm Bombast von Hohenheim for 
his son by marriage and his next heir. . . . 
And that this letter may serve as absolutely 
trustworthy, we give it with the seal of the town 
of Villach appended." 

Theophrastus was now old enough to go to 
school, and in Villach there was a school founded 
by the famous Fuggers of Augsburg, who were 
engaged in working the lead mines at Bleiberg, 
a short distance from Villach. Their Berg- 
schule was intended to train overseers and 
analysts to superintend and instruct the miners 
and to analyse the metals and ores discovered. 
In his " Chronicle of Karinthia " Paracelsus 
wrote many years later concerning its minerals : 

" At Bleiberg is a wonderful lead-ore which 
provides Germany, Pannonia, Turkey, and Italy 
with lead ; at Hiitenberg, iron-ore full of speci- 
ally fine steel and much alum ore, also vitriol 
ore of strong degree ; gold ore at St. Paternion ; 
also zinc ore, a very rare metal not found else- 
where in Europe, rarer than the others ; ex- 
cellent cinnabar ore which is not without 
quicksilver, and others of the same character 
which cannot all be mentioned. And so the 
mountains of Karinthia are like a strong box 
which when opened with a key reveals great 

Such a key was the mining begun by the 

1502-9] THE BERGSCHULE 33 

Fuggers, and the doctor and his son must often 
have walked through the ancient larch forests 
to Bleiberg on the slope of the Doberatsch to 
watch the processes which converted the ore 
through breaking up, smelting, and moulding 
into shapely blocks of lead. 

In the Bergschule the doctor was teacher 
of chemistry, or of alchemy in progress towards 

Father and son lived in the Haupt Platz, 
or Market Place, of Villach at No. 18, and the 
school was in the Lederer Gasse. Theophras- 
tus went to it daily and sat on its benches when 
father taught. That the Fuggers had chosen 
Dr. Wilhelm von Hohenheim for this post in- 
dicates his proficiency in chemistry, and we 
may infer that his boy had already learnt some 
of its principles and knew the fascination of 
its experiments. His father had his own little 
laboratory in the house on the Market Place, 
in which he made his own tests. Dr. Karl 
Aberle saw this room in 1879 and a knob on 
the railing of some steps rising from the court- 
yard, which he was told Paracelsus had gilded. 

The boy was sent to the famous Benedictine 
school at St. Andrew's monastery in the Lavan- 
tall for higher scholastic instruction, and it 
is probable that there he came in contact with 
Bishop Erhart, or Eberhart Baumgartner, who 
helped the Fiiggers, in th ft fr alchemical labora- 
tory. There is no doubt that good teaching and 


his native power of exact observation equipped 
him for further study at this period. The 
climate of Karinthia would favour his physical 
development into fairly healthy boyhood. The 
country as well as Karniola had recently come 
through a terrific struggle with the Turks, 
who were driven from the very gates of Villach 
in 1492. 

Theophrastus was now preparing for the 
high school, or college, probably at Basel. 
He was even engaged in studying the occult 
with his father and by help of his father's col- 
lection of books. Without a knowledge of the 
arts belonging to occultism it was impossible 
at that time to become a physician. ^ There 
was no such thing as"j positive scienceA All 
collegiate and monastic training was founded 
upon authority and consisted in a degenerate 
and much falsified inheritance of dogma from 
the Greek and Roman physicians copied studi-^ 
ously for centuries and stultified with errors 
in its transference from Greek to Latin, from 
Latin to Arabic, and from Arabic back to mediae- 
val Latin. \ 

Hippocrates, the great " Father of Medicine," 
was succeeded in the fifth century before Christ 
by Aristotle the Stagyrite, who had the instinct of 
surpassing genius and almost sighted experimental 
science. He wrote on all subjects physics, 
meteorology, mechanics, anatomy, physiology, 
biology, the vital principle, animals, parts 

131-200] CLAUDIUS GALEN 35 

of animals, generation, memory, sleep, dreams, 
etc. His work was great and he attained to 
the gate if not to the strait and narrow way of 
science. School succeeded school of medicine 
for six hundred years in Greece, Alexandria, 
and Rome. But transference from language 
to language impaired and confused the,. bases 
founded by Hippocrates and Aristotle, jwhile 
the Platonic transcendentalism and metaphy- 
sical obscuration disturbed logical thinking and 
fired men's imagination at the expense of patient 

The second century of the Christian era pro- 
duced Galen, a physician of Pergamos, who knew 
all that there was to be acquired in his time 
and a little more of his own, founded upon in- 
adequate experiment. He wrote on every 
branch of what was comprehensively called 
philosophy, five hundred clever treatises, and 
of these one hundred have survived. His merit 
was that he urged the importance of anatomical 
knowledge. Otherwise, he dictated a system 
of medicine fusing theory and practice re- 
trograde in itself, not developed from the sound 
principles of Hippocrates and Aristotle so im- 
posing in its reduction of all departments of 
knowledge to authoritative assertion that it 
prevailed over all Europe for twelve centuries 
and dissent was accounted sacrilegious. While 
Hippocrates urged the importance of obser- 
vation, Galen confounded it with theory. When 


the Arabs invaded the sphere of European 
enlightenment, they were struck with admira- 
tion for this mass of erudition and accepted 
it without question. 

The result was that copies were made in 
Arabic of Galen's treatises and of Latin ver- 
sions of the Greek physicians. Avicenna and 
Averroes were hard-and-fast disciples of the 
Galenic system, fascinated by its pose of omni- 
science, and their support not only stamped out 
such illuminated protest as Roger Bacon's, but 
made of the decrees of Claudius Galen fetters 
to bind men's minds for three centuries beyond 
Bacon's time. As Latin was the general lan- 
guage of teaching, copies of the Arabic were 
transferred into mediaeval Latin and errors 
increased and multiplied. To such an extent 
were the works of even Aristotle debased in 
Roger Bacon's time, that their conceptions 
were stultified, and in his great work the " Opus 
Majus," written for Pope Clement IV., the Fran- 
ciscan scientist declared that "if he could he 
would burn all the works of the Stagyrite, since 
their study was not only loss of time, but the 
cause of error and multiplication of ignorance." 

It is not wonderful that occultism supple- 
mented dogmatic ignorance. St. Ambrose 
of Milan said : " The testimony of nature 
is more valid than the argument of doctrine." 
But such consultation of nature was punished 
as wizardry. None the less it was hazarded. 

1510] AT COLLEGE 37 

William Howitt, Friend and mystic, has written: 
" True mysticism consists in the direct relation 
of the human mind to God : false mysticism 
accomplishes no true community and pro- 
pitiation between God and man." How should 
it, when it leaves the naked soul at the mercy 
of evil ? The mind absorbed in God is shielded 
from assault. It was the true mysticism that 
Theophrastus sought to acquire, the union of 
his mind with the Divine Mind, that he might 
be enabled to understand its workings in nature. 

When he went to Basel, he was already practi- 
cally acquainted with surgical treatment and had 
helped his father in dealing with wounds. He 
tells us in his "Surgical Books and Writings" that 
he had the best of teachers and had read much 
written by famous men, both past and present. 
Amongst them he instances Bishop Erhart of 
Lavantall and his predecessor. Lavantall was 
in the valley where the Fuggers had their smelt- 
ing furnaces and laboratories, and there the 
bishop probably attained experimental ac- 
quaintance with the alchemy of metals. 

We know next to nothing of Theophrastus at 
Basel in 1510. The High School or University 
was in the hands of the scholiasts and pedants 
of the time. He soon became conscious that 
he had nothing to gain from their dull reitera- 
tions of aeon- old formulas which his intellect 
disowned. The dust and ashes to which these 
barren minds deferred " had laboured and grown 


famous and the fruits were best seen in a dark 
and groaning earth given over to a blind and 
endless strife with evil what of all their lore 
abates ? " 

One incident belongs to this time. It was a 
fashion for scholars to adopt a latinised version 
of their family name and in some cases to hellen- 
ise its form. Erasmus, Frobenius, Melancthon 
are examples of such changes. The habit pre- 
dominated in Basel, and Theophrastus trans- 
ferred Hohenheim into Paracelsus. There is 
a tradition that his father had conferred this 
name on him while he was still a boy, meaning 
by it that he was already more learned than 
Celsus, a physician who lived in the time of the 
Emperor Augustus, and who wrote a work upon 
medical treatment somewhat more advanced in 
hygiene than was usual then. But Dr. Sudhoff 
and Dr. Karl Aberle agree in considering " Para- 
celsus " to be a paraphrase of Hohenheim carry- 
ing the " High Home " into the spiritual 
region, and we are safe in accepting their opinion. 

From 1510 he was known by this name, and 
although he rarely included it in his signature, 
he affixed it to his greater works, those on 
philosophy and religion, and was universally 
cited by it whether in discipleship, in contro- 
versy, or in contumely. 

His impatience with the outworn and almost 
worthless academic teaching can be imagined. 
He needed truth, not jargon ; order, not con- 


fusion ; guidance, not misleading. And all the 
time Roger Bacon's " Opus Majus " lay frayed 
and tattered at Rome and Oxford. 

Paracelsus had read some manuscript by the 
Abbot Trithemius, perhaps a copy in his father's 
collection, and it decided him to go to Wiirz- 
burg and seek enrolment amongst his pupils. 
Trithemius was called after his birthplace, 
Treitenheim, near Trier. His own name was 
Johannes Heidenberg. Even as a young Bene- 
dictine monk he was celebrated for his learning, 
and was made Abbot of Sponheim when he was 
only twenty -one years old. From Sponheim 
he was transferred in 1506 to the monastery of 
St. Jacob close to Wiirzburg, where he died 
in December 1516. He had a great renown, 
and more especially for occult research, believ- 
ing that the hidden things of nature were in 
the keeping of spiritual forces. Students came 
to him, and if they proved themselves worthy 
were admitted to his study where his grim 
experiments were made. He was learned in 
all the knowledge of his day, influenced too 
by the Renascence, a lover of art and poetry 
as well as a historian and a physician, an al- 
chemist with a nostrum of his own for all diseases, 
the receipt for which is quoted by Dr. Franz 

So Paracelsus travelled the long road to 
Wiirzburg, probably in just such conditions 
as Erasmus describes in his letter about the 


journey from Basel to Louvain. He had grown 
stronger, but always remained small and slight, 
carrying his great gifts in a frail vessel. He 
took a lodging at Wurzburg, 

Which the Mayne 
Forsakes her course to fold as with an arm. 

Trithemius was accounted dangerous by the 
ignorant many. He had penetrated to some 
of nature's hidden things, amongst them to 
magnetism and telepathy. In mystical ex- 
periments he had found himself able to read 
the thoughts of others at a distance. He used 
a cryptic language and a secret chronology 
by which he interpreted the prophetic and 
mystical portions of the Bible and of cabalistic 
writings. Above all study he insisted on that 
of the Holy Scriptures, for which he had a 
deep devotion and which he required his pupils 
to examine with exact and reverent care. In 
this he influenced Paracelsus for life, for Bible 
study was one of the preoccupations of his later 
years, and in his writings we have constant 
witness not only to his mastery of its language, 
but of its* deepest spiritual significance. 

That he studied occultism with the abbot 
and was aware of its mysterious powers is also 
sure, for later he sought to systematise them 
anew. But he shrank from its more dangerous 
experiments because he believed them to be 
opposed to the divine will, and above all he 

1511] NECROMANCY 41 

abhorred the necromancy practised by less 
scrupulous men, being convinced that it opened 
an outlet for the forces of evil. He abjured 
all personal profit from the exercise of beneficent 
magic, and believed that only the good of others 
could authorise it, and particularly the healing 
of others under the direction of God. 

Robert Browning has well defined his atti- 
tude towards all cabalistic efforts to control 
spirit influence for selfish purposes : 

I can abjure so well the idle arts 

These pedants strive to learn and teach ; Black Arts, 

Great Works, the Secret and Sublime, forsooth 

Let others prize : too intimate a tie 

Connects me with our God ! A sullen friend 

To do my bidding, fallen and hateful sprites 

To help me what are these, at best, beside 

God helping, God directing everywhere, 

So that the earth shall yield her secrets up, 

And every object there be charged to strike, 

Teach, gratify her master God appoints ? 

It was with this clear purpose that he 
returned to active personal and experimental 
research. He could discern between the mental 
food convenient for him and that which un- 
fitted his aspiring soul for union with God. 
To heal men as Christ had healed them would 
be best of all, and in time this union might 
invest him with such healing power, but in 
the meantime the divine behest and the divine 
commission had come to him to search out all 
means of healing with which the Creator had 
stored nature. In the years of his study with 


Trithemius he must have felt the spiritual im- 
pulse which pushed him into the van of God's 
battalion, for this time was the crisis of his 
life arid he had to choose whether to go forward 
into the wilderness or to surrender the high 
emprise. He forsook all things which could 
lead to worldly preferment and went out to 
seek wisdom with as little provision for his 
bodily comfort as the poverello of Assisi. 



Then first discovering my own aim's extent 
Which sought to comprehend the works of God 
And God Himself, and all God's intercourse 
With the human mind. 

to make neither gold nor silver : 
its use is to make the supreme essences and to 
direct them against diseases." This was the 
outcome of Hohenheim's researches in Schwatz. 
But when he went thither, it was with some 
curiosity as to the possible discovery of a com- 
bination which would transmute the baser 
metals into gold. He had read so much and 
heard so much of this fabled achievement, 
that it was difficult for him to escape from the 
glamour of its possible consummation. 

He was probably about twenty-two years 
old when he joined Fiiger's little army of workers 
in the silver-mines and laboratories of Schwatz, 
and his residence there was the most influential 
period of his preparation for a new departure 
in science. The Fiigers were in no way related 
to the Fuggers of Augsburg who mined Bleiberg. 
They were Counts of Fiigen in the Tyrol, and 



their mines were in the Tyrol about thirty 
kilometres from Innspriick. Sigmund Fiiger 
more particularly befriended Paracelsus, who 
stayed with him at Schwatz. 

Paracelsus found two groups of workers 
the miners with their directors and the chemists 
with their crucibles, retorts, and phials. The 
chemists were still alchemists. Their analyses 
and combinations belonged to occult experiment. 
They were seeking Nature's mysteries mysteri- 
ously with rites and offerings and old conven- 
tions ; with observance of days and hours and 
astral influences, with conjurations and in- 
vocations and cryptic measurements and weights. 
They tried by all hazards to grasp knowledge, 
taking cabalistic precautions, anticipating the 
sudden revelation, preparing for it by fasting 
and meditation. Belonging to Christendom, 
they inherited their occult creeds and methods 
from a world more ancient than we can imagine, 
a world of which they knew nothing but in 
.^ fragments and whispers and strange survivals* 
Sumerian, Accadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyp-1 
tian, Indian, Persian, Phoenician, Arab, Hebrew, \ 
Greek, Roman, Goth, Celt, Teuton, Tartar, 
""Mongolian practised and bequeathed what they' 
were practising. But polytheism favoured oc- 
cultism more than Christianity, for polytheism 
was occultism, and from its terminology and 
rites the alchemists inherited theirs. 

Paracelsus worked with both groups. He 

1514] AT SCHWATZ 45 

learnt the risks and hardships of mining, and 
studied the veins of precious ore, molten by 
means at which he could only guess, which, 
flowing into fissures and cracks within the 
mountains, had hardened there in glittering 
streaks. Three forces had produced them, fire, 
fluidity, and solidification. 

His first biographers, or rather those of them 
whom spite had not perverted, maintain his 
power of penetrating into the very soul of 
natural things. 

" Paracelsus," wrote Peter Ramus, " entered 
into the innermost recesses of nature and ex- 
plored and saw through the forms and faculties 
of metals and their origins with such incredible 
acumen as to cure diseases." 

__ __ 

Melchior Adam testified that " in universal 
philosophy, so arduous, so arcane and so hidden, 
no one was his equal." 

Besides his research into the nature of metals 
in the mines themselves, he frequented at first 
the laboratory where the alchemists pursued 
their phantom quest, and after a time left them, 
convinced of the futility of " gold-cooking." 
But their combinations and solutions, if applied 
to making medicines, might be developedf^and 
he believed that all minerals subjected to ana- 
lysis might yield curative and life-giving secrets 
and lead to new and sympathetic combinations 


of value in cases of either mental or physical 
disease^He held as the very basis of divine 
creation that every substance, whether endowed 
with organic life or apparently lifeless,ycontained 
some variety of healing potentiality^ Alchemi- 
cal experiments for the sake of gold-making 
he realised to be no divine quest at all, and he 
called the men who muttered and sweated 
over the crucible fires in Schwatz " fools who 
thresh empty straw." But the crucible fires 
had great uses and they who claimed God's 
direction might turn them into purifying flames 
for the healing of the nations. 

Paracelsus was wd^^qukinted with the pro- 
cesses of experimental ^l&remy : at Villach 
and at Sponheim he had assisted at many a 
test, and he now began to submit the minerals 
at his disposal to the trial of solution, disin- 
tegration, and combination, so as to discover 
what treasure each held and could impart. 

In his earliest work, " Archidoxa," he gave some 
of the results of these investigations at Schwatz. 
It was published nearly thirty years after his 
death in 1570 for the first time, although for 
forty years known to his pupils and disciples 
in manuscript form. Peter Perna in Basel 
was its first publisher. Theodosium Rihel pub- 
lished it in Strassburg later in the same year, 
and towards the end of the century many 
editions appeared. Perna's " Archidoxorum " 
shows, says Dr. Sudhoff, indications of hasty 

1515 and later] THE ARCHIDOXORUM 47 

editing. The order of its contents is as 
follows : 

Concerning the mysteries of the Microcosm 

I. The first book of Renovation and 


II. Concerning the Separation of the Ele- 

III. Concerning the Fifth Essence. 

IV. Concerning the Arcane. 

V. Concerning the Magisteriis (medicinal 


VI. Concerning the Specific. 
VII. Concerning Elixirs. 
VIII. Concerning the Externals. 
IX. Concerning Long Life. 

Although ten books are mentioned in the 
title, there are only nine in this edition, unless 
we include the lecture on the Microcosm, 
which is printed without a numeral. Probably 
Perna heard of the forthcoming edition at 
Strassburg and hastily collected the manuscript 
copies from old followers of Paracelsus, printing 
them without due revision to forestall Rihel. 
The errors are numerous and are not much 
improved by a list of corrections at the end of 
a reprint. 

Rihel's version is better. It is entitled 

' Archidoxa ' of Philip Theophrastus Paracelsus 

Bombast : of the highly experienced and most 

famous Doctor of Philosophy and of both Medi- 


cines, concerning the Mysteries of Nature." 
Its table of contents gives us : 

I. De Mysteriis Microcosmi. 

II. De Mysteriis Elementarum. 

III. De Mysteriis Quintae Essentige. 

IV. De Mysteriis Arcani. 

V. De Mysteriis Extractionum. 

VI. De Mysteriis Specificorum. 

VII. De Mysteriis Elixir. 

VIII. De Mysteriis Externis. 

IX. De Renovatione and Restauratione. 

X. De Vita Longa. 

And at the end of this list are two supplemen- 
tary treatises, " De Tinctura Physica " and " De 
Occultse Philosophise," which do not belong to 
the "Archidoxa." 

These books contain the therapeutics of Para- 
celsus. To understand them we require the 
aid of a glossary. It was the habit of alchem- 
ists in those days to veil their secrets from the 
uninitiated by expressing them in cabalistic 
terms. Paracelsus was familiar with those used 
by the Abbot Trithemius and not only adapted 
most of them to his own terminology, but 
added many other terms and phrases, some of 
which were imported from India and Persia. 
There is a glossary of these, the " Lexicon 
Alchemicum," compiled by Martin Ruland and 
published at Prague in 1612. Fifty years later 
it was translated into English and printed in 


London, by William Johnson, who took the 
credit of its compilation. It is now in the 
collection at Geneva, called Biblioteca Chymica 
Curiosa, by J. F. Mangels. It is interesting 
to find that occultists of to-day, the Theosophists, 
use a cipher still. I find in one of their publi- 
cations, " Light on the Path," 1908, the following 
words : 

" In fact it is deciphering a profound cipher. 
All alchemical works are written in the cipher 
of which I speak ; it has been used by the 
great philosophers and poets of all time. It 
is used systematically by the Adepts in life 
and knowledge, who, seemingly giving out their 
greatest wisdom, hide in the very words which 
frame it, its actual mystery." 

In this glossary we find that Paracelsus calls 
the principle of wisdom Adrop, Azane, or Azar, 
perhaps a spiritual rendering of the so-called 
philosopher's stone. Azoth is the creative prin- 
ciple in nature, or the spiritual vitalising force. 
The Cherio is the quinta-essentia of a body, 
whether mineral, vegetable, or animal, its fifth 
principle or potency. The Derses is an occult 
breath from the earth promoting growth. The 
Ilech Primum is the primordial force or causa- 
tion. Magic is wisdom, the conscious employ- 
ment of spiritual powers to produce visible 
effects, as of the will, of love, of imagination 
the highest power of the human spirit to control 


all lower influences for the purpose of good, 
not sorcery. 

Many pages might be given of this vocabulary, 
but these examples, taken from Dr. Franz 
Hartmann's list, sufficiently indicate its char- 
acter. With its help the new system of natural 
philosophy which Paracelsus began to organise 
about 1515, after his researches in Schwatz, 
has been recovered in his own words. His 
pupils and disciples were of course provided 
with a key to his terminolog)jnbut its obscurity 
guarded his books and lectures from hostile 

We gather that he divided the elements dis- 
coverable in all bodies, animal, vegetable, and 
mineral, into water, fire, air, and earth, as did 
the ancient philosophy, more or less present 
in every body, whether organised or not, and 
which can be separated each from the other. 
To the processes of such separation, laboratories 
were essential with good arrangements and 
vessels. The ordinary fireplace did not suffice, 
neither did the hotter hearth of the forge. 
What were needed were the reflecting furnace 
and revolving fire, which could make the cru- 
cible glow through and through, and the Atha- 
nare or stove whose heat could be constantly 
maintained and increased for operations re- 
quiring protracted care. There must always 
be a constant supply of water, steam, sand, 
iron-filings, to keep the heat even and to cool 


the furnace by degrees. The examination of 
substances in so high a temperature required 
a reflector and insulator. For the laboratory 
shelves and tables there must be good balancing 
scales, mortars, phials and alembics, well-glazed 
crucibles, cans and other vessels of glass, as 
well as an alembic with mouthpieces in which 
most of the distillations could be carried out. 
In such a laboratory the alchemist capable of 
rigorous application to his work and who is 
trained to minute observation can test the 
different substances submitted for analysis, 
and can extract from each its quintessence, its 
arcana, by which Paracelsus meant its intrinsic 
properties of healing value whether for external 
or internal use. Such properties resided in 
the quinta-essentia, or virtue, of each substance. 
It was often infinitesimal in quantity, even 
in large bodies, but none the less had power 
to affect the mass through and through, as a 
single drop of gall embitters or a few grains 
of saffron colour a quantity of water. Metals 
and half-metals, stones and their varieties are 
furnished with the quinta-essentia just as are 
organised bodies, for although held as lifeless 
bodies as distinguished from animals and plants 
they contain essences drawn from bodies that 
have lived. 

This is a remarkable statement and when 
strengthened by his theory of the transmutation 
of metals into varying substances, a theory 


held by the occultist experimentalists, but in 
Hohenheim's view indicating medicines, not 
precious metals, it shows a very advanced view 
of the mineral kingdom. We are urged in 
candour to acknowledge that Paracelsus was 
a true scientist, and by research of an infinitely 
careful character had attained glimpses of 
mysteries in what we call inanimate nature 
which are only now in process of revelation by 
the extraordinary discoveries of observers like 
Madame Curie and her collaborators. 

While considering the new system of Natural 
Philosophy evolved by Paracelsus we must 

forget that nearly four centuries of researcff~\ 
have expired since his time, a research which \ 
he practically originated and with which he 
x inspired the greater minds of his own and the 
succeeding generations. The historic spirit is 
of the utmost importance to its right apprecia- 
tion. His great forerunner, Roger Bacon, met 
with obloquy and imprisonment from the mort- 
main of scholasticism, and up to this point 
Paracelsus was unaware of his stifled cry for 
experimental research in the thirteenth century. 
We must honestly face the conditions of the 
sixteenth century in order to appreciate what 
Paracelsus achieved, to realise his high ethical 
standards that roused unrelenting hatred in 
baser and mentally more clouded men, and his 
steadfast courage in despite of rancorous op- 


, < .-.. 
His analyses were made with different agents 

with fire, with vitriol, with vinegar, with corro- 
sives, and with slow distillation. Metals were 
his main study atfSchwatz, \ and he had for 
his fellow-analyst the famous Bishop Erhart 
of Lavantall, whom he includes in the number 
of his instructors. Bismuth was one of the 
substances which he specially analysed and 
which he catalogued as a half-metal. From 
this substance Madame Curie has eliminated 
polonium, and it may have been from bismuth 
that he divined the existence of active virtues 
in minerals which suggested processes of trans- 
mutation./ He discovered zinc |and classed it 
as a half-metaTl It was one of the many ad- 
ditions which turmade to pharmacy A Amongst 
them were preparations oi iron^ 5T antimony, 
of mercury, and of lead A Sulphur and sul- 
phuric acid were subjects "of especial interest 
and experiment, and represented to him a 
fundamental substance corporealising inflamma- 
bility. He investigated amalgams with mercury, 
particularly the amalgam of copper ; alum 
and its uses, and the gases arising from solution 
and calcination. What was left as ashes by 
calcination he considered the indestructible 
and arcane part of a substance, its salt and 

These researches eventuated in his theory of 
the three basic substances necessary to all 
bodies. He called them! sulphur, mercury, and 


in his cipher terminology. Sulphur stands 
for fire, mercury for water, and salt for earth7\ 
otherwise for inflammability, fluidity, and solicP" 
ity. Air he omitted, considering it a product 
of fire and water. All bodies, be they organised 
or mineral, man or metal, iron, diamond, lily, 
herb, were for him varied combinations of these 
basic elements. His teaching on the bases 
and qualities of matter is this theory of the 
Three Principles. They are the premises of 
all activity, the limits of all analysis, and the 
final constituents of all bodies. They are the 
soul, body, and spirit of all matter, which is 
one. But the shaping power of nature, which 
he called the Archeus, made out of matter a 
myriad forms, each informed with its own alcol, 
or animal soul, and each with its ares, or specific 
character. In man there is besides the aluech, 
or pure spiritual body^ This shaping power 
of nature is an invisible and lofty spirit, nature's 
artist and craftsman altering the types and 
reproducing themT^ Paracelsus adopted the 
conceptions of Mticrocosmos and Microcosmos 
to express the great world of the universe 
and the little world of the individual man, the 
one mirroring the other. I Besides the results 
of his experimental research already noteji^ 
he discoy^redlchloride and sulphate of mercury, \ 
calomel,/ flower of sulphur, and many distilla- 
tions. TSven late in the last century straw- 
berry jam was unpleasantly associated with a 


grey powder and administered in a teaspoon 
unwilling children, a medicine due to the thera- 
peutic ingenuity of Paracelsus, and zinc ointment, 
rhich prevails to this day, dates from SchwatzT 
He guarded the use of all medicines in later 
treatises by earnest counsel to physicians to 
know well the diseases for which they were ad- 

" For," he said, " every experiment with 
medicine is like employing a weapon which 
must be used according to its kind : as a spear 
to thrust, a club to fell, so also each experiment. 
And as a club will not thrust and a spear will 
not fell, neither can a medicine be used other- 
wise than for its own remedy. Therefore it 
is of the highest importance to know each 
thoroughly and its powers. To use experi- 
mental medicines requires an experienced man 
who discerns between the thrust and the blow, 
that is to say who has tried and mastered the 
nature of each kind. . . . The physician must 
be exactly acquainted with the illness before 
he can know with what medicine to conquer it. 
A wood-carver must use many kinds of tools in 
order to work out his art. So, as the physician's 
work is also an art, he must be well practised 
in the means which he employs." 

Paracelsus wrote not only with a clear sense 
of what he wished to convey, but also with a 
luminousness which his illustrations accentuate. 
There is no involution in his style, nothing of 


the tide of overwrought and tortured language 
which followed the Renascence. He speaks as 
a man having authority. In some of his writings 
we recognise the brief and pregnant utterance 
of a seer, and his thoughts are clothed in lan- 
guage which gives them the rank of aphorisms 
availing for all time : 

" Faith," he says, " is a luminous star that 
leads the honest seeker into the mysteries of 
nature. You must seek your point of gravity 
m God and put your trust into an honest, divine, 
sincere, pure, and strong faith and cling to it 
with your whole heart and sense and thought, 
full of love and confidence. \ If you possess such 
a faith, God will not witnhold His truth from 
you, but He will reveal His works credibly, 
visibly and consolingly." " Faith in the things 
of the earth should be based upon the Holy 
Scriptures and upon the teachings of Christ, 
and it will then stand upon a firm basis." 

In none of his writings is this directness of 
style more observable than in his " Book of the 
Three Principles, their Forms and Operation," 
an abstract of which will give a clearer concep- 
tion of his system than pages of description. 

It was published at Basel in 1563 by Adam 
von Bodenstein, who tells us in an editorial 
preface that Paracelsus had been shamefully 
calumniated and that many doctors had given 
out as their own what they had learnt and 
abstracted from him. 

1515 and later] SALT, SULPHUR, MERCURY 57 

In this little book, Paracelsus applies his 
doctrine of the " Three Principles " to diseases 
and their cures. His style bears internal evi- 
dence that the chapters contain the subject- 
matter of one or more lectures to his students. 

He begins by laying down the premiss al- 
ready noted, that every substance or growth is 
lormed of salt, sulphur, and mercury7\and is a 
conjunction of these three : that a~"*threefold 
operation is therefore always proceeding in 
each body, that of cleansing through salt, of 
breaking up and consuming through sulphur, 
and of carrying away what is consumed through 
mercury. \ Salt is an alkali, sulphur an oil, 
mercury a liquor. Each has its own power 
apart from the others. In diseases which are 
complicated, mixed cures are necessary. Great 
care must be taken to understand each disease, 
whether it be simple, or of two kinds, or of three 
kinds ; whether it proceeds from corporeal 
salt, sulphur, or mercury, and to what extent 
from each or all, and how it stands in relation 
to the adjacent parts of the body, so as 
to note whether liquor, alkali, or oil is to be 
extracted ; in short, a doctor must observe 
the rule that two diseases should not be 

/ In the second chapter he describes the three 
/ ways in which salt cleanses and purges the 
/ body daily by virtue of the Archeus or presiding 
^life-power in each organ, which ordains the 


manner of cleansing in and for each. In the 
elemental world there are many kinds of 
alkali, as cassia, which is sweet and in minerals 
is called antimony ; as sal gemmae, which is 
sour ; as acetate of tin, which is sharp ; as 
colocynth, which is bitter. Some alkalis are 
natural, some are extracted, some are coagu- 
lated, and they must be used accordingly, 
whether for expulsion by perspiration or in 
the other modes. 

In the third chapter the operation of sulphur 
corporeal as well as elemental is explained. 
Every sickness, he says, brought about by the 
superfluous in the body, has its antidote in 
elemental nature^ so that from the genera of 
plants and minerals the genera of diseases 
can be discovered ; one points out the other. 
Mercury takes upon itself what salt and sulphur 
reject such as disease of the arteries, ligaments, 
articulations, joints and so on, and in such 
the fluid mercury must be taken in its special 
form which answers to the form of the disease. 
The thing in disease needs the thing in nature 
pointed out as remedy. 

Paracelsus goes on to specialise the diseases 
arising severally out of salt, sulphur, and mer- 
cury, to be cured severally by salts, sulphuric 
medicines, and mercurial medicines. Diseases 
in their genera are divisible into branches, 
twigs, and leaves so are their cures. Mercurial 
diseases are therefore controlled by mercurial 

1515 and later] HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT 59 

medicines, either common mercury, metallic 
mercury, or mercurial antimony, and the cures 
must be understood. Some contain both con- 
solidated and incarnative strength. Mercury 
is manifold. Metallic mercury appears as a 
mineral; in juniper, hebeno, as a wood; in 
prassatella and persicaria as a plant, and yet 
it is the same mercury in many forms. Some 
ulcers are cured by persicaria, some by arsenical 
mercury, some by mercury of boxwood. Three 
things in wood are necessary for diseases : 
salt, sulphur, and mercury, each of two kinds, 
one elemental and one healing. No doctor 
need break into two trees to extract one cure. 
At the base there are only three diseases and 
three medicines, therefore peace to the endless 
chatter and cavilling about those old fiddlers, 
Avicenna, Mesue, and the rest ! 

In Chapter VI. Paracelsus insists that all < ( 

diseases should be called by the name of their \ 
. It is better to call leprosy gold-disease7~ 
for so it is medicinally named, and the name 
points out the remedy It is better to call 
epilepsy / vitriol-disease, \ for it is cured by 

" My honoured predecessors have not made 
clear to me what evils theory has ended. The 
doctor's art lies in the mysteries of nature, 
which the old theorists locked up. But I prove 
my theory from nature and from its life in all 


The seventh chapter deals with incarnatives 
and their source : 

" These come from mercury alone : wounds, 
ulcers, cancers, erysipelas can be healed only 
by the differ^nl^jnercurial powers in minerals 
and in plants.^ Every doctor must search and 
discover these for himself, so that he may know 
the things in which mercury lies, and know 
how to prepare each, one kind in topaz, one 
in a special spirit, each in the exaltation in 
which it is at its best, so as to extract it from 
the mass holding it. You will be called doctors 
if you can deal with each substance knowing 
how to extract from it. Experiment must be 
made, for nothing can be learnt by wishing." 

The eighth chapter deals with distillation 
and balsams, with gums and substances which 
attract, and with sulphuric percussives. The 
whole treatise is wound up with a chapter on 
the Archeus, the " heart of the elements," 
the shaping, protecting, vitalising spirit present, 
in the macrocosm as in the microcosm. 

" It brings a tree out of a seed. It is by the 
power of the elements that the tree grows and 
lasts and stretches itself up high. It is by this 
power that the animals live and move and stop. 
In man's body it is in every organ, which would 
otherwise perish ; each organ has its own kind 
to strengthen and renovate it and so the power 
of the Archeus is in his members, the power of 
the macrocosm in the microcosm." 



I go to prove my soul ! 

I see my way as birds their trackless way. . . . 
In some time, His good time, I shall arrive ; 
He guides me, and the bird. 

PARACELSUS stayed about ten months at 
Schwatz and then decided that his experience 
of a university having been as barren of results 
as if he were "in a garden where the trees 
were all stumps," he would "transplant himself 
into another garden," where the trees grow 
tall and bear all manner of fruits. 

He was twenty-three years old when he 
left Villach to graduate in the university of the 
world. He was not prepared to settle down 
as a doctor and to relapse into tedium and 
mental stagnation. -JHe followed what to 

was a divine call, " God's great commission,'' 
sensible that the mind of the Most High hail 
touched his own and had inspired him with 
apprehension of a vaster universe and potenti- 
alities physical and spiritual unknown to 
scholasticism, and that it called him to venture 
forth, a pilgrim, a pioneer, a conqueror, or a 



How know I else such glorious fate my own, 

But in the restless, irresistible force 

That works within me ? Is it for human will 

To institute such impulses ? ... Be sure that God 

Ne'er dooms to waste the strength he deigns impart. 

In his " Surgical Books and Writings," Para- 
celsus indicates his reasons for the long time 
spent in travel, about nine years altogether. 
" A doctor," he says, " cannot become effi- 
cient at the universities : how is it possible 
in three or four years to understand nature, 
astronomy, alchemy, or physic f\ Physic 
meant medicine at that time.\ "It is not pos- 
sible, for so much belongs to the art of a doctor 
that an immature boy of four-and-twenty can- 
not know it all and is not fit to be a doctor." 
46 It is not only the knowledge of minerals and 
their medicines that makes a doctor : that 
makes a philosopher." 

It was customary at that time for the learned 
to become affiliated to a secret society of al- 
chemists, to devote themselves to alchemy 
and to astrology, and doubtless to learn many 
things, but under oath of silence. Paracelsus 
refused to join any such body and to be bound 
by any vow of secrecy. He wished to gain 
knowledge openly and to give its benefit to 
all whom it could help. 

Dr. R. Julius Hartmann has lightened our 
task in following the course of his travels. In 
his " Theophrast von Hohenheim," published 
in 1904, he has collected the itinerary statistics 


from his works and has given them to us in a 
masterly sequence. We can accept this safely, 
enriching its incidents from the discoveries 
of Dr. Carl Aberle and other eminent investi- 

V " A doctor must be a traveller," said Para- 
celsus, " because he must inquire of the world. 
Experiment is not sufficient. Experience must 
verify what can be accepted or not accepted. 
Knowledge is experience." 

In spite of his disappointment with one 
university, he did not avoid the others, but 
tried them in every country which he visited, 
hoping to find some kindred spirit, some one 
in whom was the questioning " spark from 

He went first to Vienna and then to Cologne, 
where the universities were amongst the oldest 
in Europe. From Cologne he went to Paris, 
ut we know nothing of his residence there, 
except that he studied local diseases. 

There is in the Louvre Gallery a portrait of 
him at about the age of twenty-four, a very 
beautiful picture in oil upon wood, which at one 
time was in the museum of Nancy. It bears the 
inscription " Famoso Doctor Paracelsus " and 
is ascribed to a French or Belgian artist called 
Scorel, who lived from 1493 to 1562. 

Dr. Aberle gives us what details have been 
discovered about it. There are many assertions 




but few that can be verified. A replica some- 
what altered used to belong to the gallery at 
Blenheim. The portrait now in the Louvre 
was till quite recently ascribed to Albrecht 
Diirer, just as the Blenheim portrait was as- 
cribed to Rubens. Perhaps Scorel was a pupil 
of Diirer's, for style and treatment are certainly 
reminiscent of the great German artist. The 
face is beautiful, in repose, the eyes large, clear, 
and meditative : they look " as if where'er 
they gazed there stood a star." But if the 
eyes are those of a seer, the broad brow, the 
strong nose, the small, resolute mouth and the 
firmly moulded chin and jaw are those of a 
man of action. He wears a red velvet cap 
trimmed with fur, and his right hand holds 
a half -open book. Both hands rest lightly 
on a diagonal scroll, on which is the inscription 
already quoted. His hair falls in waves on 
either side. The background is occupied by 
a landscape, in the manner of the Flemish, 
Dutch, and Italian painters, and this represents 
a castle and rocks, a stone bridge and a little 
town, and critics have sought to identify Dinant 
and its Bayard rocks in this landscape. 

The Blenheim replica is smaller in size but 
resembles the other closely. It was removed 
from the gallery in 1886. There are in exis- 
tence many woodcuts and engravings of this 
portrait, the most famous being Hollar's wood- 
cut, but it is regrettable that these vary from 

1517] AMBROISE PARfi 65 

the original. We can only surmise that the 
portrait was painted by a gifted contemporary 
as young as himself, either at Nancy, Paris, 
or Montpellier, while Paracelsus was in France. 

It was in 1517, just at the time of this resi- 
dence, that Ambroise Pare was born, afterwards 
to be called the " Father of Modern Surgery." 
Those who so honoured him were ignorant or 
oblivious of the fact that in the first edition of 
his works published in his lifetime, Pare acknow- 
ledged his indebtedness to Paracelsus in all 
that concerned the surgery of wounds. This 
acknowledgment was omitted from all later 
editions of Pare's works except from that of 
M. J. F. Malgaigne in 1840. 

From Paris Paracelsus journeyed south to 
Montpellier, halting by the way wherever there 
was opportunity for observation. At Mont- 
pellier the Moorish system of medical training 
was in full force, and Paracelsus was again face 
to face with the Galenic theories in one of their 
strongholds. He was thoroughly conversant 
with those theories and could quote them at 
length by heart. 

" The books of the ancients never satisfied 
.me," he wrote afterwards, "for they are not 
'thorough but uncertain and serve rather to 
mislead than to direct to the straight way." 


He must have remained some length of time 
at Montpellier, for he often refers to his visit. 


When he left France it was to make his way 
to Italy, where he visited Bologna, Padua, and 
Ferrara, centres of learning where some of the 
philosophers had felt the transforming touch 
of the Renascence. 

At this tim^Girolamo CardancK was a boy at 
Milan, carrying his father's heavy books and 
papers when the lawyer went abroad on business, 
and not very kindly treated at home. 

Probably Paracelsus visited Salerno as well 
as the northern cities, but having failed to find 
in Germany, France, and Italy the fundamental 
truths of medicine, he took ship for Spain and 
journeyed to Granada. " As I did not wish to 
submit myself to the teaching and writings of 
these universities," he tells us in his " Book of 
the Greater Surgery," " I travelled further to 
Granada and then to Lisbon through Spain." 

He sailed from Lisbon to England, of his visit 
to which we have only one mention without 
details. But having regard to his purpose, 
we are justified in believing that he visited 
Oxford, and that some of his time was given 
to the lead mines in Cumberland and the tin 
mines in Cornwall. Perhaps he heard of Roger 
Bacon when he visited Oxford. The fame of 
this great man, obscured for three centuries, 
had begun to pierce through the clouds. Some 
effort was being made to recover his works, 
more serious in France than in England, for 
it is not to England's credit that France has 


been more jealous to assert and prove his great- 
ness than his native country, where his discover- 
ies were appropriated to add to another man's 

While Paracelsus was in England, news 
. reached him that there was fighting in the 
^Netherlands. He left for the seat of war and 
applied for the post of barber-surgeon to the 
Dutch army. This he tells us in his " Hospital 

He had claimed the book of nature for autho- 
rity in scientific research, and now he claimed 
the wounded for his book in surgery. " The 
sick should be the doctor's books," he coun- 
selled his students just as Hippocrates had 
done two thousand years earlier. War was 
the opportunity for enlarging his knowledge 
of wound-surgery, which he had already prac- 
tised with his father, and he eagerly sought 
employment in a series of campaigns which 
occurred during his wander-years. Dr. Julius 
Hartmann thinks that he may have picked up 
or bought the long sword, conspicuous in all 
his later portraits, in the Netherlands. 

In 1518, Christian II., King of Denmark, 
appeared with a powerful fleet before Stock- 
holm, where in 1520 he was acknowledged 
King of Sweden. Paracelsus journeyed from 
the Netherlands to Denmark and took service 
as army surgeon. He was sent to Stockholm, 
which he naturally calls a " city of Denmark " 


in the circumstances. Amongst both Danish 
and Swedish soldiers he pursued his healing 
art, observing the cures which the men them- 
selves practised and the wonder-working bever- 
ages and febrifuges administered by the country 
people to their wounded. In his " Greater 
Surgery " he tells of a Swedish lady who com- 
pounded a miraculous drink which healed even 
severed veins after three doses, and he probably 
overcame his usual avoidance of women to 
secure its recipe. 

He visited the mines of Sweden not only 
for the sake of their produce, but to make 
himself better acquainted with the accidents 
and Diseases to which miners were subject. 
He wrote a book on the r Diseases of Miners \' 
many years afterwards, wnen he had further 
studied them in Saxony, Bohemia, Hungary, 
Transylvania, Poland, and Prussia. 

The minerals which he identified in Sweden 
and Denmark were iron, copper, zinc, lead, 
alum, sulphur, silver and gold. When he had 
finished his work and exploration, he mounted 
his steed and resumed his travels through 
Brandenburg to Prussia ; then to Bohemia, 
Moravia, Lithuania, and Poland ; then to Wal- 
lachia, Transylvania, Carniola, Croatia, Dal- 
matia and southwards by the coast to Fiume. 
He mentions these countries in several books. 
He seems to have had an illness in Transylvania 
or to have run some risk of losing his life. It 

1518-20] ON THE ROAD 69 

was a series of wonderful regions for his eager 
interest, each of them a new chair in the world- 
university, or as he himself has said, a new 
chapter in the book of nature. 

We can picture him little burdened by per- 
sonal baggage his doctor's gown and beret 
perhaps in a sack dressed in a serviceable 
doublet of strong twill, riding a hired horse 
from inn to inn ; or taking advantage of a train 
of merchants on their way to some annual fair 
with laden pack-horses ; or finding room enough 
in a jolting cart going to market ; or in the 
following of a rough corps and its reckless 
leader ; or with a string of pilgrims bound for 
healing well or shrine ; or falling in with a band 
of merry lads seeking apprenticeship away 
from their homes ; or making a comrade of 
pedlar, friar, gipsy, travelling journeyman, per- 
haps not averse to a beggar, and camping by 
night where he could. But it is certain that 
wherever he was and with whatever itinerant 
humanity, he was serving, helping, healing, 
comforting, and learning.^ 

In towns where he sojourned a while, he was 
called to the houses and castles of the wealthy 
and was paid for the cures which he effected, 
so that he had money for his hostelry and food 
and could renew his doublet and beret as he 
needed. These cures won him renown indeed 
but hostility as well from the local practitioners, 
and hostility was apt to take a dangerous form. 


He was a man who gave thanks in every- 
thing, and we find him praising God for the 
poverty of his childhood, for its coarse oaten 
bread and rough garments, which had made 
privation of no account, and had prepared him 
to seek the things invisible which endure, rather 
than the outward and visible luxury which 
perishes. There were patients of all kinds and 
conditions for him, by the roadside, in the 
lazar-houses, at the inns, in the villages, and 
for healing these his fee was some old wise 
woman's lotion, some soothsayer's mystic hint, 
some barber's trick, perhaps some executioner's 
grim experience. It sufficed him, for what in- 
creased his store of knowledge needed no pack- 
horse to carry. 

He probably knew Carniola well already, 
for it lies but a few leagues from Villach, where 
he doubtless rested a few weeks on his way to 
the south. No more beautiful region exists 
than the valley of the Save, with its lakes and 
healing waters, its sun-warmed air perfumed 
amongst the pines, its marvellous flora and its 
river like flowing aquamarine, golden orioles 
flashing from bush to bush upon its banks. He 
would reach it by a narrow pass below the 
robber castle of Katzenstein, where Pegam 
the magic horse was stalled in olden days, and 
he would see the tabors erected at every church 
porch for refuge and defence against the Turks 
and the cascade of fiery molten metal at Jauer- 


burg, where, as the old Slovenic poem tells, 
" swords were fashioned to lop off the Turkish 


He turned at Zeugg, south of Fiume, took 
ship across the Adriatic to Venice and spent 
some time as army surgeon to the Venetians, 
at that time occupied against the Emperor 
Charles V. One of their wars was for the 
defence of the Island of Rhodes against Sulei- 
man II. the Magnificent, and he seems to have 
been present in the campaign. Venice helped 
the Knights of St. John, but their efforts were 
unavailing, and in 1522 Rhodes was abandoned 
to the Soldan. This surmise is founded on 
his including " Rodiss "in a list of places 
visited and on his observations of arrow-wounds 
made personally. The bow and arrow were no 
longer used in western wars. He mentions, too, 
a disease which he found amongst " Saracens, 
Turks, Tartars, Germans, and Wallachians." 

It has been said that the young Tintoretto 
met him in Venice and was so impressed with 
his appearance that he painted his portrait 
from life, but this has been disproved by Dr. 
Aberle. Tintoretto was a child of two years 
on his first visit to Venice and not more than 
four on the second. Probably some other 
Venetian artist was the painter. Paracelsus is 
represented as sitting in an old armchair, 
clad in a doctor's gown, his hair growing 
scanty over his brow, but plentiful on the side 


visible. He holds the arm of his chair with 
the right hand. It is the portrait of a man 
between thirty and forty years of age, and when 
he was in Venice he was either not yet thirty 
or only just thirty. His great fatigues and 
privations had probably aged him even then, 
but the picture cannot have been painted by 
Tintoretto, fine although it be. It is certainly 
a portrait of Paracelsus and has been frequently 
engraved and photographed. Had he been in 
Venice eight years later, the ascription to Tin- 
toretto would have been just barely credible. 

He now visited the Tartars, probably the 
Cossacks of the Balkan Peninsula and the 
nomadic tribes of Southern Russia, for the 
term " Tartar " was indiscriminately applied to 
the migratory hordes which wandered over the 
steppes and to Turks and Cossacks in the 
Balkan Peninsula. He went north as far as 
Moscow, sharing the tent life and privations 
of his hosts, from whom he could learn more 
respecting the treatment of horses, cattle, and 
goats than from any western people. From 
them he would win the respect which a character 
so courageous and beneficent and a power so 
generously employed for others evokes from 
natural peoples, undegraded by self-interest, 
unblinded by clap-trap education. 

It is said that he journeyed from Moscow to 
Constantinople with a Tartar prince, and spent 
some months there in the house of a famous 

1522] OCCULT LORE 73 

sorcerer. He went no farther east, nor south. 
He says himself : " I visited neither Asia nor 
Africa, although it has been so reported." 

From Turks and Tartars he added to his stores 
of positive knowledge as well as to his acquaint- 
ance with that force which the culture of will 
and imagination renders powerful for either 
good or evil, to subdue disease or to create it, 
to calm and fortify or to surrender to malignant 
and destructive influences. We know that Para- 
celsus had already studied the occult and had 
rejected much which seemed to him " mere 
superstition and phantasy." He had accepted 
its finer doctrine of the ever-present working of 
the spirit of life with its miracles in elemental 
nature, its insight and its links with the uni- 
versal, bringing the macrocosm into touch 
with the microcosm, so that man lives not 
by bread alone but by every thought of the 

He had probed even further in the labora- 
tory at St. Jacob's, but recoiled from the malig- 
nant experiments of necromancy. Already he 
had made experiments in magnetism, in tele- 
pathy, and in psychic divination. But it was 
not till he had wandered with eastern nomads 
for a summer, till he had learned from Saracens 
and Turks the lore of their saints, and had 
wiled from Jewish physicians and astrologers 
the secrets of their dread Kabbala, that he 
became convinced of the reality of that occult 


power which amongst all nations of antiquity 
was accounted the highest endowment of the 
priesthood. It was the wisdom taught to 
Moses at Heliopolis, the wisdom that qualified 
him to be the deliverer and lawgiver of his 
people. It was the wisdom of Solomon, who 
knew all created things and was accredited 
with control over mighty spirits. It was the 
wisdom of Samuel and of the prophets and 
was taught in the schools of the prophets, and 
at its highest it was and is a seeking after God. 
We owe to it all that the Scriptures of the Old 
Testament have taught us of God. It foretold 
the coming of Christ in the far east as in Judea ; 
the wise men were its adepts and the kings of 
the east its illuminated. 

Its value for Paracelsus lay in the healing 
power and insight with which it endows the 
seeker after truth. He returned from the near 
east with a greater reverence for the gifts in- 
visible, for the manifold powers of a hallowed 
and energised will. 

In the fourth Book of Defences he says : 


" The universities do not teach all things^ 
so a doctor must seek out old wives, gipsies, 
sorcerers, wandering tribes, old robbers, and 
uch outlaws and take lessons from them." 
We must seek for ourselves, travel througfrx 
the countries, and experience much, and when 
we have experienced all sorts of things, we must 1 
hold fast that which is good." ^ j 


Again, in the Fourth Defence he reiterates : 

" My travels have developed me : no man 
becomes a master at home, nor finds his teacher 
behind the stove. For knowledge is not all 
locked up, but is distributed throughout the 
whole world. It must be sought for and cap- 
tured wherever it is." 

" Sicknesses wander here and there the whole 
length of the world, and do not remain in one 
place. If a man wishes to understand them 
he must wander too. Does not travel give 
more understanding than sitting behind the 
stove ? A doctor must be an alchemist. He 
must therefore see the mother-earth where 
the minerals grow, and as the mountains won't 
come to him he must go to the mountains. 
How can an alchemist get to the working of 
nature unless he seeks it where the minerals 
lie ? Is it a reproach that I have sought the 
minerals and found their mind and heart and 
kept the knowledge of them fast, so as to know 
how to separate the clean from the ore, to do 
which I have come through many hardships." 

" Why did the Queen of Sheba come from the 
ends of the sea to hear the wisdom of Solomon ? 
Because wisdom is a gift of God, which He gives in 
such a manner that men must seek it. It is true 
that those who do not seek it have more wealth 
than those who do. The doctors who sit by 
the stove wear chains and silk, those who travel 
can barely afford a smock. Those who sit 
by the stove eat partridges and those who 
follow after knowledge eat milk-soup. Al- 
though they have nothing, they know that as 


Juvenal says, ' He only travels happily who 
has nothing.' I think it is to my praise and 
not to my shame that I_have accomplished my 
travelling at little cost.] And I testify that 
this is true concerning Nature : whoever wis 
Jbo know her must tread her books on their 
feet. Writing is understood by its letters, | 
Nature by land after land, for every land is a l 
book. Such is the Codex Naturce and so must 
a man turn over her pages." 

>ii r* 

Paracelsus left Constantinople for Venice 
some time in 1522, to act as army surgeon in 
the war between the Emperor Charles V. and 
the King of France, Francis I., for the possession 
of Naples. The Venetians took part against 
the Emperor. This war lasted some years, 
and Paracelsus continued at his post till 1525 
and was present wherever the campaign was 
conducted, part of the time in the Romagna. 
He was an experienced surgeon as well as a 
distinguished physician by that year and had 
taken his doctor's degree in both arts, probably 
at Salerno. He was renowned as a healer 
wherever he went, and had often been sent for 
by men of high rank whom he successfully 
treated for diseases given up as hopeless by 
the rank and file of doctors. He cured nearly 
a score of princes, and wherever he halted for 
a short time students gathered round him to 
watch his analyses or listen to his teaching. 
In Bohemia when he was examining the 


minerals of the Riesengebirge, in Poland and 
in Slavonia, he had instructed numbers and had 
won many disciples. But already the practi- 
tioners of the day, doctors, barbers, friars, 
sorcerers, laughed his new science to scorn, spied 
upon his treatment and proclaimed it as their 
own. The simplicity of his twill doublet, for 
he wore his black robe only on special occasions, 
exposed him to their coarse derision, and his 
marvellous skill provoked their active malignity, 
so that he was sometimes obliged to escape 
from its hazards. In this way he fled from 
Prussia^ Lithuania, and Poland. He says him- 
self : Ij^I pleased no one except the sick whom 
I healedA 

We lose sight of him for some months of 
1525. He was probably in Villach with his 
father. Early in 1526 he had come as far west 
as Wirtemberg, had settled in Tubingen to 
practise as a physician and surgeon, and had 
there gathered about him a circle of student 
disciples. But his stay was brief. There 
were too many doctors of the old school in the 
university town to tolerate his interference with 
their trade and teaching. He went to Frei- 
burg-im-Breisgau. He preferred university 
towns because students were assembled in them, 
and it was from the younger generation that he 
was able to win a hearing, although the jealousy 
of professors and doctors alike was invariably 
roused by his remarkable teaching and equally 


remarkable cures. The students who came to 
him were indisposed to submit tamely to the 
dull routine of Galenic instruction when they 
had once seized his doctrine of a living, pro- 
gressive science, whose possibilities were in- 
finite and which he obstinately defended against 

It is a wonderful page in the history of scienti- 
fic progress that tells of this brave man, alone, 
delicate, poor, maintaining against all Europe 
the great cause of personal research into nature, 
undismayed by ill-treatment, scorn, and failure, 
unshaken by the combined hostility of doc- 
torculi and pedagogues, steadfast to the truth 
to which he had dedicated his life. What 
chance had he against such odds ? Socrates 
was treated with the cup of hemlock ; Roger 
Bacon with imprisonment ; Galileo with the 
dungeon and the rack ; Giordano Bruno with 
the stake. 

Again and again his life was threatened and 
he had to fly. 

While he was in Wirtemberg, he visited a 
number of mineral springs at Goppingen, Wild- 
bad, Zellerbad or Liebenzell, and Nieder Baden, 
now called Baden Baden. He analysed their 
waters and declared that the last three springs 
had one common source, and this opinion was 
endorsed only last century by Walchner the 
geologist. He visited Liebenzell more than 
once and is said to have been there again in 


the year of his death. Johann Reuchlin had 
been there in 1522 for convalescence after yellow 
fever, and there are many other records of 
the popularity of mineral springs during the 
whole of the fifteenth century. 

Paracelsus cured the Abbess of Rottenminster 
on his way to Freiburg, where he was as little 
welcomed as at Tubingen, so he decided to try 
Strassburg. Here there was as yet no univer- 
sity, but much talk of establishing one, although 
the city contented itself with building an Aca- 
demy some years later. Towards the end of 
December 1526, Paracelsus bought the citizen- 
ship of Strassburg and prepared to settle down. 
He was obliged by the local law to become a 
member of one of the civic guilds or corpora- 
tions, and he chose that of the cornchandlers 
and millers, to which at that time surgeons 
were admitted. It almost seemed as if the 
wanderer had found a home and rest. 

At Strassburg there was not so much strife 
between surgery and medicine as elsewhere, 
and a man might practise both without being 
held for an impostor. But no sooner was he 
settled than he was in demand by patients 
given over by the doctorculi, and his cures 
awoke the professional rancour which followed 
him everywhere. 

He was challenged to encounter a famous 
upholder of the Galenic School called Vende- 
linus in a " Disputation," and was so disgusted 


with the fluent futilities of his opponent that 
he would not condescend to answer them. The 
doctor culi buzzed with triumph. But the 
disconcerting cures went on and it became a 
professional duty to crush him. He was sum- 
moned to attend Philip, Markgrave of Baden, 
who was ill with dysentery and whose life had 
been despaired of. Paracelsus soon stopped 
the dysentery, so soon, indeed, that the house- 
hold doctors insisted that they had done the 
healing, and that he was not worthy of his fee. 
It was refused by their advice and he never 
forgot an insult so deliberate and so unmerited. 



Here I stand 
And here I stay, be sure, till forced to flit. 

WHEN Paracelsus returned to western Europe 
a great change had taken place. Luther's 
challenge had given courage to the protest in 
more countries than those of Hanover, Prussia, 
and England. The Swiss Reformation lagged 
behind that of the north, because its leader, 
Zwingli, was not fully prepared for his great 
undertaking till 1518. 

He was pfarrer at Einsiedeln for two years, 
from 1516 to 1518, and had begun to attack 
the peddling of indulgences from his pulpit 
there. The Renascence affected him quite as 
much as the Reformation, and it is interesting 
to find that his reading of the Fathers Origen, 
Jerome, Chrysostom, and Augustine in the 
monastery library of Einsiedeln led him to 
a more searching study of the New Testament, 
and particularly of the Pauline Epistles and 
Hebrews, all of which he copied into a little 
book from the first edition of Erasmus, which 
appeared in March 1516. 

He made a friend of the treasurer of the 
monastery, and together they talked over the 

6 81 


coming crisis and agreed that the worship of 
the Virgin Mary had led Christianity away from 
Christ, and that the coarse expedient of selling 
indulgences through the medium of an itinerant 
friar was an insult to the pardoning mercy of 
God, who freely forgave the penitent. Zwingli 
preached against both in the cloister church 
of Maria Einsiedeln, and induced Abbot Conrad 
to take down the document which had been 
affixed to the gate and which offered full re- 
mission of sins for money. 

He was called to Zurich at the end of 1518, 
to one of the minor churches, and his great 
services during 1519, when the plague raged 
in the town, led to his appointment as Canon 
of the Grossmiinster in 1521. From that 
year he was the mouthpiece of the Reformation 
in Switzerland. He preached against fasting 
in Lent, maintained Scripture authority against 
that of the Church, and published sixty-seven 
" Conclusions," which contained the first public 
statement of the reformed faith in Switzerland, 
rejecting the primacy of the Pope, the Mass, 
the invocation of saints, fasts, pilgrimages, 
celibacy, and purgatory. He claimed Jesus 
Christ as the only Saviour and Mediator. 

In 1523, at a public disputation, the magis- 
tracy declared judgment in favour of Zwingli 's 
" Conclusions." Two further disputations 
were held, and at these the Bishops and the 
Diet refused to appear or to be represented. 


The Canton of Zurich acted without them and 
established the reformation within its boun- 
daries. Reformed Communion was celebrated 
by its whole people on Thursday, Good Friday, 
and Easter Sunday, in April 1525. Zwingli 
and Leo Judse became responsible for the trans- 
lation of the whole Swiss Bible, which was 
published at Zurich in 1530, four years before 
Luther's Bible. The Reformation spread to 
Basel, and with its establishment there the next 
important events in the life of Paracelsus were 
intimately concerned. 

Its acceptance in Basel was mainly due to 
OEcolampadius, who was settled there as pastor 
of the Church of St. Martin and Professor of 
Theology in the University. He sought Zwingli's 
friendship, and began his work on the plan of 
that at Zurich. Amongst his helpers was the 
famous Johann Froben, whose guest, Erasmus of 
Rotterdam, favoured reform, although on broader 
and more intellectual lines than those possible 
at the time. Erasmus lived eight years with 
Froben. The latter had disabled his right foot 
in a fall and was suffering as much from the 
rough and ignorant treatment of local physicians 
as from the original injury. In the summer 
of 1526 this suffering came to a head and 
amputation was suggested. Happily, the fame 
of Paracelsus had reached Basel, and Froben 
sent a messenger to Strassburg to fetch him. 
He stayed in the house, commenced his treat- 


ment at once, that of an experienced surgeon, 
and the cure began with the treatment. After 
a few weeks Froben was able not only to walk 
but to resume the long journeys necessary to 
his business of printer and bookseller. During 
these weeks Paracelsus made the acquaintance 
of Erasmus and won his fervent admiration. 
Erasmus consulted him by letter as to his own 
health, which Paracelsus found to be under- 
mined by gout, hepatic and kidney troubles, 
the last apparently gravel. In his reply * he gave 
Erasmus a diagnosis of these, protested against 
the medicines which he was using, and offered 
to prescribe for his ailments and to cure them. 
To this Erasmus answered f : 

" It is not unreasonable, O Physician, through 
whom God gives us health of body, to wish 
eternal health for thy soul. ... In the liver 
I suffer pains, the origin of which I cannot 
divine. I have been aware of the kidney trouble 
for many years. The third ailment I do not 
sufficiently understand, still it seems to be 
probable that there is some harm. If there is 
any citric solution which can ameliorate the 
pain, I beg that thou wilt communicate it to 
me. ... I cannot offer a fee equal to thy art 
and thy learning, but certainly a grateful spirit. 
Thou hast recalled Frobenius from the shades, 
who is my other half, and if thou restorest me 
thou restorest two in one. . . . Farewell, 


* Appendix A. f Appendix B. 

1526] BASEL 85 

The insight of the diagnosis astonished Eras- 
mus, who wished that Paracelsus could stay 
some length of time in Basel, and doubtless his 
admiration for the great physician influenced 
the magistrates in their decision a few weeks 

Basel was divided on the Church question. 
The Catholics were led by Ludwig Bar, preacher 
in the cathedral and professor in the faculty 
of theology in the University. (Ecolampadius 
was the head of the protesting party. He had 
accepted the appointment to St. Martin's Church 
on the condition that he need not use Catholic 
rites, and already he was celebrating Holy 
Communion in the simple fashion of the re- 
formers, with a liturgy composed by himself. 
He was detested by the Catholic party. The 
magistrates of Basel were not all of one mind, 
but at Lent, 1526, the majority were in favour 
of the Catholics, and issued a prohibition against 
the slaughter and sale of animal food during 
the weeks of fasting. 

Ludwig Bar sent a special deputation to 
thank them for this decree and offered as a 
token of gratitude to extend the inclusion of 
citizens to the canons' seats in the cathedral, 
and to give these new citizens equal protection 
for life and property, equal taxes and the right 
to belong to any guild which they preferred. 

But, as the months went on, the party division 
became more marked and the magistracy showed 


a majority for reform. Soon many of the 
churches were using congregational psalmody 
in German, and in September the magistrates 
issued a decision that the Gospel was to be 
preached freely and openly as it was contained 
in the four Evangels, in the Epistles of Paul, 
and in the Old Testament, and that all canon 
teaching not authorised by these was to cease. 
On October 29 another decree was issued, 
which appropriated monastic property for the 
use of the poor and the general welfare. 

These rapid changes were due to (Ecolam- 
padius, whose personal influence had become 
supreme. But in the University the Catholics 
remained authoritative and hostile to the re- 
formers, who sought to modify their power. 
The post of town physician was vacant. It 
was one of considerable importance, as in ad- 
dition to medical care of Basel, it included a 
lectureship on Medicine in the University, and 
the superintendence of the town apothecaries, 
a large body living on exorbitant prices de- 
manded for the stale drugs and disgusting 
decoctions of the Galenic school. 

This appointment was in the gift of the 
magistrates, not of the University. But the 
faculty of medicine had the right to interfere 
with both the medical practice and the lecturing 
if the doctor appointed did not satisfy their 
standards and had probably advised and even 
decided the choice on former occasions. It 


seems it had already chosen a candidate to be 
elected by the magistrates, who were at the 
discretion of CEcolampadius. He was an in- 
timate friend of Froben and Erasmus, who 
were anxious to bring Paracelsus to Basel, and 
he probably knew the latter already. 

It is not easy exactly to characterise the 
sympathy shown at this time by Paracelsus 
towards the reformers, but it must have been 
of a quality to win their confidence. He knew 
well to what a depth the Church had sunk, 
how it canonised ignorance and withstood pro- 
gress. We shall learn from his own wor 
what he thought of the " pfaffenzahl." In his 
" Five Qualifications of a Doctor " he main- 
tained that neither priest nor monk was fit to 
be a physician, so ignorant, greedy, and immoral 
was the whole crew. The most malignant of 
his foes had been the friar-doctors, who had 
chased him out of the Markgrave Philip of 
Baden's sick-room and cheated him of his fee. 

Here drivelled the physician, 

Whose most infallible nostrum was at fault ; 

There quaked the astrologer, whose horoscope 

Had promised him interminable years ; 

Here a monk fumbled at the sick man's mouth 

With some undoubted relic a sudary 

Of the Virgin ; while another piebald knave 

Of the same brotherhood (he loved them ever) 

Was actively preparing 'neath his nose 

Such a suffumigation as, once fired, 

Had stunk the patient dead e'er he could groan. 

I cursed the doctor and upset the brother, 
Brushed past the conjuror, vowed that the first gust 


Of stench from the ingredients just alight 
Would wake a cross-grained devil in my sword 
Not easily laid : and ere an hour the prince 
Slept as he never slept since prince he was. 

Browning gives the scene to the life, as Para- 
celsus himself recorded it. 
Of Luther he wrote : 

" The enemies of Luther are composed to a 
great extent of fanatics, knaves, bigots, and 
rogues. Why do you call me a medical Luther ? 
You do not intend to honour me by giving me 
that name, because you despise Luther. But 
I know of no other enemies of Luther than 
those whose kitchen prospects are interfered 
with by his reforms. Those whom he causes to 
suffer in their pockets are his enemies. I leave 
it to Luther to defend what he says, and I 
shall be responsible for what I say. Whoever 
is Luther's enemy deserves my contempt. That 
which you wish to Luther you wish also to me ; 
you wish us both to the fire." 

(Ecolampadius hoped that Paracelsus would 
reinforce the evangelical party in the University 
and urged his appointment. But it is probable 
that however strongly he sided with the op- 
ponents of the " pfaffenzahl," he was preoccu- 
pied with the reform of medicine and had too 
many contests on his own hands to desire those 
of other men. His convictions were certainly 
more nearly allied to those of the reformers 
than to those of the recreant ecclesiasticism. 


Perhaps he was held back by some uncertainty 
as to how far the inrush of free thought would 
lead the protestants ; as to what extreme the 
principle of secession once admitted might 
carry men ; as to the substitution of the Bible 
as sole authority, without check over the in- 
evitable and countless misconceptions of its 
teaching, which, as a matter of fact, have been 
the disruption of Protestantism. He knew 
the misuse of the Bible in science ; was it safe 
from misuse by the ignorant in religion ? 

But when his call to Basel reached him at 
Strassburg towards the end of the year 1526, 
it came from the protestant majority in the 
magistracy. He accepted it, and giving up his 
citizenship and house in Strassburg, removed 
to the old university town. He found him- 
self at once a bone of contention. At one time 
the university had the right to elect its own 
professors, but this right had fallen into abey- 
ance with the gradual increase of civic autho- 
rity. As (Ecolampadius had been appointed 
lecturer in theology by the magistrates, he was 
unpopular in the University and his advocacy 
of Paracelsus created a prejudice against the 
latter. The Galenic light recommended by the 
medical faculty was naturally a ready-made foe. 
Paracelsus had lectured for only a few weeks, 
when the academic authorities interfered and 
prohibited his continuance. He appealed to the 


" They think," he wrote, " that I have neither 
right nor power to lecture in the college without 
their knowledge and consent ; and they note 
that I explain my art of medicine in a manner 
not yet usual and so as to instruct every one." 

It was not the contents of his lectures that 
annoyed them, but his departure from old 
methods, which prescribed explanation and 
commentary on the canonical systems, and for 
which he presumptuously offered his own ex- 
perience and his own experiments. Then, too, 
he dared to lecture in German that all might 
understand, and that the new teaching might 
be freed from the fetters of the old. " I thank 
God," he wrote long afterwards, " that I was 
born a German man." 

As a German man, he told the story of his 
own research in German words. But to the 
irate faculty it was a degradation of the dead 
science and its dead aphorisms to utter living 
truths in a living language. 

England had found its own language and its 
Chaucer, and was soon to find its Shakespeare : 
Italy had found its own beautiful speech, its 
Dante and its Tasso : Luther was giving Ger- 
many its German Bible. Eberlin, Geiler, and 
(Ecolampadius were preaching in German, and 
their congregations were singing German psalms 
and hymns. But what the churches welcomed 
was forbidden in the lecture-halls of the uni- 


Paracelsus was the academic innovator. He 
defined what a doctor should be in German7\ 
r^so that all might understand." " I am de- 
fspised because I am alone, because I am new, ; 
/because I am German." 

< In time the prohibition was withdrawn and 
he resumed his lectures. Crowds flocked to 
them, the students, the physicians of Basel, 
his enemies, and a small number of nobler listen- 
ers, men like Basil Amerbach, who could under- 
stand and appreciate. In addition to these 
was the unlearned audience whom Paracelsus 
invited, and all the barbers, bath-men, and al- 
chemists in Basel, who came in their ignorance 
to scoff. 

Dr. Julius Hartmann says : 


" The glory of being the first man who taught 
in the German language in a German univer- 1 
sity belongs to that true German, Theophrastus _\ 

von Hohenheim, to all time." 


Of course men jeered that it was because he 
knew no Latin, although they wot well their 
own lie. They tried to disparage his degree 
and to insinuate that he had never received 
it. They sought to incense him that they 
might catch him tripping. But he went on 
with his lectures finding disciples amongst his 
students and admirers amongst the nobler spirits 
in his audience. 

He used no red pole, no swaggering gait, 


no chains and rings of gold. He sought to win 
confidence by careful experiment and lucid 
explanation. We can almost see him in the 
long, low-ceilinged hall clad in a plain doublet, 
making his chemical illustrations with a crucible 
and retorts on the table before him, describing 
each in clear language always to the point, 
while the beautiful Rhine flowed ever beneath 
the windows. 

We can see him too going about the streets 
of Basel on his round of professional visits, 
dressed in grey damask, and wearing a black 
damask cap. The coat was often used in the 
laboratory and might be stained with the tinc- 
tures and medicines which he made himself, 
but he did not account the stains dishonourable, 
till they spread too far, and then he bought him- 
self a new coat, always of grey damask and 
gave the old away. 

He thought little of the gorgeous Basel doctors 
and would praise simplicity of dress coupled 
with knowledge and capacity of mind and hand. 

" I praise the Spanish doctor," he said, re- 
membering Granada, " because they do not 
go about like idle fellows finely dressed in velvet, 
silk, and taffeta, gold ring on the finger, silver 
dagger at the side, white gloves on the hands ; 
but work day and night with patience. They 
are not always promenading, but seek their 
laboratory, wear clothes of leather and an apron 
of skin on which to wipe their hands ; wear 


no rings on their hands which they need to 
thrust into the charcoal and which are as black 
as a charcoal-burner's. That is why they use 
little splendour." 

So he wrote in his book of the " Greater Sur- 

Whatever might be his dress, he girded on 
his long sword, to which he held as tenaciously 
as the fine doctors to their rings and red pole. 

" A doctor should be full of experience, not 
hung about with red coats and spangles. . . . 
To have the name and not to do the work of 
a doctor is dead : the two things must go to- 
gether, to be a doctor and to do a doctor's 
work : physicians and physic : master and 
mastery. " 

His own mastery was proved by his cures, 
and the other doctors were moved to jealousy 
and sought to subject him to the judgment of 
the whole medical body in Basel. The question 
was whether he might or might not practise 
in the city. The academic charter contained 
a clause to this effect concerning any newcomer, 
with a fine of thirty gulden did the newcomer 
disregard this condition. Paracelsus refused to 
submit himself to any such formality, but this 
attempt, in the face of his appointment by the 
magistrates, forced him to expostulate. He 
wrote to the magistrates, whom he addressed 
as his " grave, pious, strong, foreseeing, wise, 


gracious, favourable gentlemen." In this we 
detect a spice of irony, for their foresight and 
wisdom were conspicuous by absence when 
they exposed their nominee to treatment from 
which these qualities might have protected 
him. He asked them to restore him to his rights. 
They put him in his office and they must endorse 
his power to exercise his duties. He had been 
given no notice of the faculty's power to inter- 
vene, and he had left work at Strassburg to 
comply with their appointment. 

Another matter broached in this letter con- 
cerns the conduct of the city apothecaries. He 
had enraged that class by refusing to administer 
or prescribe their medicines, which brought 
them in large profits. He made his own medi- 
cines in his laboratory, and used them instead 
of their nauseous brews. He used his tincture 
of opium, which, he called labdanum, his solu- 
tions of antimony, mercury, and arsenic, his 
preparations of zinc, iron, and sulphur. 

The apothecaries knew nothing of these. He 
found their stock stale and worthless, their 
prices absurdly high. As town physician he 
had the oversight of the apothecaries, and he 
discovered not only their carelessness and neg- 
lect, but also that they had a secret understand- 
ing with the doctors. All this may be read in 
his letter of expostulation. He desired that 
the apothecaries and their stores should be 
inspected, that their proceedings should be 


rigorously controlled, that their recipes should 
be submitted to the opinion of the town phy- 
sician, and that apothecaries should submit 
to examination before their appointment, 
since the bodies and lives of the sick were 
in their power, that medicines should be 
charged according to a fixed rate, and the 
exorbitant prices which had drained the people 
be ended. 

This admirable appeal, brave, determined, 
and beneficent, had effect, and Paracelsus was 
freed from the immediate persecution. 

On June 5, 1527, he attached a programme 
of his lectures to the black-board of the Uni- 
versity inviting all to come to them. It began 
by greeting all students of the art of healing. 
He proclaimed its lofty and serious nature, a 
gift of God to man, and the need of developing 
it to new importance and to new renown. This 
he undertook to do, not retrogressing to the 
teaching of the ancients, but progressing whither 
nature pointed, through research into nature, 
where he himself had discovered and had verified 
by prolonged experiment and experience. He 
was ready to oppose obedience to old lights 
as if they were oracles from which one did not 
dare to differ. Illustrious doctors might be 
graduated from books, but books made not a 
single physician. Neither graduation, nor flu- 
ency, nor the knowledge of old languages, nor 
the reading of many books made a physician, 


but the knowledge of things themselves and 
their properties. The business of a doctor was 
to know the different kinds of sicknesses, their 
causes, their symptoms and their right remedies. 
This he would teach, for he had won this know- 
ledge through experience, the greatest teacher, 
and with much toil. He would teach it as he 
had learned it, and his lectures would be 
founded on works which he had composed con- 
cerning inward and external treatment, physic 
and surgery. " Let God ordain and may you 
apply yourselves in such a manner that our effort 
to advance once more the art of healing may 
succeed." So ended the programme and so 
he answered his adversaries. 

A fortnight later came the Feast of St. John. 
The students built and lit a bonfire in front of 
the University. It was blazing when Para- 
celsus arrived, holding in his hand Avicenna's 
Canon of Medicine, which he flung into the flames 
saying : " Into St. John's Fire so that all mis- 
fortune may go into the air with the smoke." 
It was his challenge to the party of the old 
school. So Luther challenged the papacy when 
he burned the papal Bull and Statutes by the 
Elster Gate of Wittemberg. And Roger Bacon 
had wished that he could burn all the works 
of the Stagy rite. Paracelsus burned the dead 
and done with lore of Galen and Avicenna. 
It was a symbolic act, as he explained later 
in the " Paragranum " : " What has perished 


must go to the fire, it is no longer fit for use: 
what is true and living that the fire cannot 
burn." Man was in bondage to the dead Church, 
to the dead learning let them be done with 
for ever. Night and day Paracelsus worked 
at his lectures, dictating them to his secretaries 
with extraordinary vigour, striding up and down 
the room, his eyes gleaming " like a man in- 

He ignored the Basel holidays, which lasted 
from the middle of July to August 21, deter- 
mined to retrieve the time which academic 
opposition had wasted, and the hall was always 
filled to overflowing. It was his constant aim 
to do his utmost for those whom he taught, 
" to keep back nothing which could be of use 
to the sick." Had not Christ made the healing 
of sick minds and bodies a paramount pre- 
occupation, and therefore to His followers a 
paramount duty ? 

He supplemented lectures with practical 
demonstrations. The most advanced amongst 
his students accompanied him to the sick-beds 
of his patients and learned by observation of 
his diagnoses and his treatment. Experience, 
he said, was better than all the anatomy lessons 
of the lecture-room. If they wished to under- 
stand a disease, let them look it in the face, 
watch its symptoms, study its phases, measure 
their duration, classify for themselves its cause 
and the sequence of its condition, discover 


its alleviations, compound themselves its 

He led them into the surrounding country 
to study for themselves the herbal medicines 
" where God has placed them." How should 
they recognise them in tinctures and powders 
even skilfully compounded ? Better than all 
books, better than physic-gardens, however 
complete, were the open spaces where Nature 
was the gardener, for there the medicines grew 
by choice, drawing from soil and air the virtues 
which made them potent, " out in Nature, which 
is covered by only one roof, where the apothe- 
caries are the meadows, valleys, mountains, 
and forests, from whom we receive supplies 
for our apothecaries." 

He drew them on to alchemy, to chemistry, 
to experiment, for they must be their own 
apothecaries, and must distil, combine, dissolve 
their own medicines, and this could be taught 
and developed only by constant observation 
and constant practice. We have a list of some 
of his lectures, and this alone touches many 
departments of medicine : 

I. Concerning the degrees and components 

of recipes, and of natural substances. 

II. Concerning diagnosis by pulse and face, 

and other symptoms. 

III. Concerning disease arising out of acidity. 

IV. Concerning diseases of the skin. 


V. Concerning open wounds and ulcers. 

VI. Surgical lectures on wounds received 

in war. 

VII. Concerning pharmacy. 

VIII. Concerning blood-letting. 

IX. Concerning the preparation of medicines. 

" 1 wish you to learn," he would urge, " so 
that if your neighbour requires your help, you 
will know how to give it, not to stop up your 
nose, like the scribe, the priest, and the Levite, 
from whom there was no help to be got, but 
to be like the good Samaritan, who was the man 
experienced in nature, with whom lay know- 
ledge and help. There is no one from whom 
greater love is sought than from the doctor." 

He took some of the poorer students into his 
own house, gave them food and clothing, and 
taught them everything. In return they acted 
as his secretaries, and when they knew enough, 
as his assistants. They had a good deal to 
bear, for he knew no fatigue himself and would 
keep them busy till after midnight. Some- 
times he would rouse them from sleep because 
a recollection, an experience, a new line of 
thought had occurred to him. But these were 
the men whom he educated so highly that they 
could share his work, make experiments them- 
selves in the laboratory, watch and report upon 
processes. The best man amongst them he 
found one day in the sick-room of a poor patient. 


He asked him where he came from. " I come 
from Meissen," said the boy, " and have wasted 
my money in Heidelberg. I should like 
to teach this winter so as to pay for my keep." 

" If you find nothing better to do," said 
Paracelsus, " you can come to me and I will 
give you keep." 

The boy soon made himself known as " the 
studious Franz " and he earned the sobriquet 
by his constant devotion to his work and to 
his master, of whom he spoke long afterwards 
as his " dear teacher Theophrastus Paracelsus, of 
blessed memory." His diligence was rewarded, 
for he became a distinguished physician. 

But amongst the many who came to him 
were some bent on their own petty and ne- 
farious designs. His healing was supposed by 
them to depend on the knowledge of certain 
secret and magical cures which they purposed 
to find out while they pretended to serve him, 
hoping thereby to make a profit as famous 
doctors without the toil of study and experiment. 
His power rested on these last as well as on 
his personal influence. He had the magnificent 
gift which could impart courage for recovery 
as well as use the means that assisted it. But 
as men whispered in those days of magic drugs 
and enchantments, these baser spirits hoped to 
surprise him in their use and to learn them to 
their own advantage. His most effective drug 
was doubtless laudanum, of which he made 

1527] LABDANUM 101 

no secret, and which he gave to restore sleep 
to the sleepless, and to still pain and to prepare 

Probably he had a little store of opium 
acquired in Constantinople, from which he 
prepared his Labdanum, and which he kept 
concealed, perhaps in the handle of his sword. 
He accounted his tincture of Labdanum as 
his best chemical discovery. It was opium or 
Labdanum that cured the Markgrave Philip of 
Baden, and for which on waking from the 
slumber it had induced he thrust a jewel into 
his physician's hand, before Paracelsus was 
turned feeless from the house a jewel which 
he wore to his dying day as a protest against 
the unmerited outrage. But what was more 
potent than laudanum was his faith in the power 
of God, his own blameless life, his deep desire 
to help his fellow-men. Something of the 
power of Christ was vouchsafed to him. 

One of these time-servers, and it may be not 
the worst of them, although the most notorious, 
was Johannes Herbst, called Oporinus. In 
order to have money for study, he married an 
elderly widow, who embittered his life with her 
scolding. He went to Paracelsus in the hope 
that he might surprise the secrets with the 
possession of which he accredited him, and 
so might make fame and money on his own 
account. He stayed two years with him and 
was at first trusted and apparently faithful. 


But either because he was baffled, for Paracelsus 
read his thoughts and knew what was in 
his heart, or because he was bribed by the 
enemies of his master, he calumniated him in 
the document which he published, and which 
in his old age he bitterly repented. Who, of 
the world's helpers, has not had his betrayer ? 
Oporinus discovered no magic nostrum, for 
there was none. Paracelsus himself spoke of 
the use of such a nostrum as " riding all horses 
with one saddle, through which more harm than 
good is effected." 



Every corner 

Of the amphitheatre crammed with learned clerks, 
Here OEcolampadius, looking worlds of wit, 
Here Castellanus as profound as he, 
Munsterus here, Frobenius there. 

THE Intimatio Theophrasti, as Huser calls the 
programme in his index to the seventh volume 
of his collected " Books and Writings of Para- 
celsus," was printed at Basel and copies were 
still to be seen in the early years of the seven- 
teenth century. But except for its reprints 
by Toxites (Michael Schiitz) in his Paragra- 
phorum in 1575, and by Huser in 1591, we should 
not now know the course of lectures given by 
Hohenheim during the first year of his residence 
in Basel, as all examples of the original impres- 
sion have disappeared. 

Probably the programme was introductory 
and was meant to lead up to a comprehensive 
and detailed system of physic and surgery 
the new internal and external treatment 
which the events of 1528 cut short, for Hohen- 
heim's enormous productiveness during the 
thirteen years which followed his departure 



from Basel dealt with almost every conceivable 
form of disease, whether suggested by outbreaks 
of pestilence, fevers, and epidemics, or by con- 
stitutional, accidental, and contagious maladies 
encountered in the daily exercise of his pro- 

We may surmise that some of the lectures 
delivered are contained in the ten books of 
the " Archidoxa " and in the " Book of the Three 
Principles " ; that the treatises on special plants, 
on salt, vitriol, arsenic, sulphur, antimony ; 
on medicinal springs ; on pharmacy and its 
preparations ; on tinctures and powders ; on 
open wounds, on ulcers and their cures ; on 
seizures and paralysis, the fractures, contrac- 
tures, and cripplings to which men are liable 
by accident, by failure of the processes of di- 
gestion and circulation, or by wounds received 
in war, belong to this period. Very important 
were the lectures on what constitutes a good 
doctor in opposition to one who, graduated 
in the schools, neither knows illness when he 
sees it nor has the experience to guide him in 
its treatment. 

Out of this wealth of material it is not easy 
to select, but a brief precis of one or two lectures, 
in addition to that already introduced on his 
basic principles, may indicate what manner 
of teaching the students at Basel in 1527 and 
1528 received from this inspired and inspiring 
reformer of medicine. 


In considering these lectures, we must keep 
the period when he taught clearly before us, so 
as not to confound his point of view with the 
advance which medicine has made within the 
last century, a position to which his courage 
and insistence pointed the generations succeed- 
ing him. He turned his back to a dead wall 
and looked to the far off horizon which ever 
recedes as men attain. 

" Le progres des sciences rend inutile les 
ouvrages qui ont le plus aide a ce progres. 
Comme ces ouvrages ne servent plus, la jeu- 
nesse croit de bonne foi qu'ils n'ont jamais 

servi a rien." 

Anatole France in these significant words 
has laid bare our intellectual ingratitude, our 
inability to realise the miracles of a past which 
engendered our miraculous present. 

In 1571 Toxites published at Strassburg, 
through Christain Miiller, " An Excellent Trea- 
tise, by Philip Theophrastus Paracelsus, the 
famous and experienced German philosopher 
and doctor." This book also contains lectures 
on four other subjects. The " Excellent Trea- 
tise " was later published as " Antimedicus " in 
Huser's " Surgical Books and Writings." It 
is a most forcible appeal from Paracelsus to 
his students to bring character as well as know- 
ledge to their professional work. The edition 
of Toxites has the advantage of being printed 


from Hohenheim's own handwriting and there- 
fore loses nothing of its original force. We 
come to it after a Latin invocation to the reader 
and a long preface, both by Toxites. 

Paracelsus indicates the " Three Qualifica- 
tions which a good and perfect surgeon should 
possess in himself." 

The first of these concerns the doctor's own 
character and is treated in seven particulars : 

" 1. He shall not consider himself competent 

to cure in all cases. 
" 2. He shall study daily and learn experience 

from others. 
"3. He shall treat each case with assured 

knowledge and shall not desert nor 

give it up. 
"4. He shall at all times be temperate, serious, 

chaste, living rightly, and not a boaster. 
" 5. He shall consider the necessity of the sick 

rather than his own : his art rather 

than his fee. 
"6. He shall take all the precautions which 

experience and knowledge suggest not 

to be attacked by illness. 
" 7. He shall not keep a house of ill fame, 

nor be an executioner, nor be an apos- 
tate, nor belong to the priestcraft in 

any form." 

He explains these seven particulars more 
fully : 

" 1. The doctors who have got themselves 
made doctors with money or after length of 


time, read their books over in a hurry, and 
retain but little in their heads. But the asses 
go about the town just as if it were a crime for 
the sick to contradict a doctor. Barbers, bath- 
men, and others are of the same persuasion, 
and think they have learnt everything with 
blood-letting, scraping, stroking, as if that were 
true medical treatment, and these calves think 
themselves great masters, for did they not go 
through their examination at Nuremberg, where 
indeed many such do go through ? 

"2. Let a doctor be as wise and learned as 
possible, there comes an hour when a case puts 
to shame all books and all experience and 
startles him by its unfamiliarity, so that how- 
ever learned he may be, he is lost with regard 
to it. This is why you must daily learn, note, 
observe diligently, despise no teaching nor trust 
in yourselves too much, and above all realise 
how little you can do, even although a doctor 
and a master. Therefore, you must be always 
learning, for who can do everything, or who can 
foresee everything, or who can know where all 
cures are to be found ? You must travel and 
accept without scorn all that comes to your 
hand, and do not bring to shame your degree 
of doctor and master. For the mock doctor is a 
mere puppy and a court-dandy, through whom 
truth and true knowledge fall into contempt. 

"3. When an ignorant doctor treats a case, 
all goes wrong and it is his fault, because he 
only thinks of the shekels. But a wise physician 
does not judge at a glance, nor does he think 
himself able to overcome all diseases ; he is 


not always riding to the same patient, or promen- 
ading on the streets, for these things give no 
help. But if he knows that the patient can 
only be cured with his help, seeing no wiser 
doctor comes, he continues his own treatment 
for the sake of duty and conscience. 

"4. If a doctor is temperate, he will not be 
full of other matters ; he will not always be 
talking, nor taken up with every stranger he 
meets, nor with love affairs, nor with fine cook- 
ing, nor with going about from shop to shop. 
He will be sober, free from all fraudulent tricks, 
will mix up no roguery with what he does. 
And he will refrain from unchastity, for the 
doctor who is not chaste is a horror. He is 
no good doctor, he is not to be trusted. 

"5. If a doctor only considers his own wants, 
he ceases to study what a doctor should be. 
He learns how to gossip and flatter and he 
knows how to coax his victuals out of monks 
and nuns in the cloisters, and gives advice at 
random that he may not want. For God gives 
the thief a long respite before he is hanged ; 
he often escapes altogether. Those who lecture 
out of books only last still longer than the thief : 
they abuse the blind and are themselves blind. 
They are obstacles in the way. But if the 
doctor loves his art, cares for what the sick 
require, he undertakes not twenty cases but 
five, for we can no more approach all diseases 
than a mother can bring her child into an 
emperor's presence. If he is righteous, he does 
not only regard the fee, he does not say to him- 
self : ' Get on, make your own way, concoct 


prescriptions.' If he does men say : ' Now's 
the time ! Who can make the whole world 
sound ? ' If you want honour and money and 
gifts from women, observe you cannot cure all 
the world, so off with you and leave the sick 
unbattered, for you know well that you only 
do them harm and that there is nothing else 
in you. 

"6. They who think only of their fee need 
neither knowledge nor experience, for they take 
up an oblique position. Who will accuse thee ? 
or say that thine is the fault ? Thou knowest 
thy Avicenna (not very well !), thou knowest 
Hippocrates and ever so much more ! Come 
what will, thou thinkest, whether death or 
recovery, I am not to blame, for one or the other 
must come. If any one but Dr. Bononiensis 
and an old dead sophist not so highly instructed 
did it, he would not know what to say. Such 
a doctor should not practise. Let him consult 
the experience of another and learn from his 
daily practice and advice. 

44 7. If a physician keep a house of ill fame, 
he puts medicine to shame. He makes a hos- 
pital of his house, worthless for medicine, but 
bringing him in money. If he is an executioner, 
he will kill his patients. He must keep his 
conscious pure and not rejoice that no one dare 
accuse him. He must have God before his eyes 
and fear Him, for God can see murder in the 
heart when thou art working it diligently, and 
He will regard neither the emperor's hushing it 
up nor the pope's absolution. He will settle 
with the murderer. 


"If he is an apostate, be sure he has been 
worthless in the cloister, so what should he do 
in medicine ? For monks who doctor do it 
out of evil motives. If he should be an apos- 
tate of some other sort, he will make a very 
dubious doctor and work for the skekels. No 
man from the priest-crew, no one from the holy 
orders is fit for medicine, for medicine needs its 
own man and the priesthood needs its own man. 
No one can serve two masters ; each has enough 
to do working for his own. The priest, too, has 
his own peculiarities. Fate is against him. 
The spirit of medicine cannot tolerate him on 
account of his wantonness. There are many 
others who should have nothing to do with 
surgery, such as doctors who have greedy 
wives and so on, for through such medicine is 
ruined and is only practised for the shekels. 
Actors and the race of poets should not enter 
medicine ; they are too witty, and it is not 
good for them to be serious." 

The Second Qualification concerns the patients. 
A doctor must know the sick and all matters 
that belong to their state, as a carpenter knows 
his wood. 

This Paracelsus treated in six particulars : 

44 1. A doctor must know how many kinds of 
tissue there are in the body, and how 
each kind stands in relation to the 

"2. He must know all the bones, such as the 
ribs and their coverings, the difference 


between one and another, their re- 
lations to each other and their arti- 

" 3. He must know all the blood vessels, the 
nerves, the cartilages and how they 
are held together. 

" 4. He must know the length, number, form, 
condition, and purpose of each member 
of the body, its particular flesh, 
marrow, and all other details. 

" 5. He must know where all emunctoria 
lie and how they are to be averted : 
also what is in every cavity of 
the body and everything about the 

" 6. He must with all his might and being 
seek to understand about life and death, 
what the chief organs in man mean, 
and what each member can and may 

Paracelsus explains these more fully : 

"1. If a physician does not know the varie- 
ties of human flesh, and where each kind is 
placed, how shall he recognise the needs of 
each wound and select what shall be helpful ? 
Each several kind has its own several accident, 
and even if they could all be healed with one 
treatment, the result will be different in each 
case, for each has its own nature. A surgeon who 
does not know how to distinguish these is not 
suitable for the art of surgery, even though he 
may rank as a doctor and master. For both 


these titles belong to knowledge and yet know- 
ledge he has none. 

44 2. If he does not know the bones, how shall 
he put right such and such an injury ? How 
shall he understand its nature, or what its con- 
sequences may be ? It is not enough that we 
handle a wound outwardly ; we must know its 
inward condition better than the outward, for 
whoever knows well the bones of the body 
understands a wound to the brain, a wound in 
the ribs, and what he may venture to do in 
either case and what he must not do. If he 
does not know, he falls back upon what is written 
and will account for it with lies and will injure 
the sick by neglect through his ignorance, and 
although he may ten times over receive the 
names of doctor and master, he is none the less 
a mere gold- seeker and a thing to be avoided 
by the sick. 

" 3. Every vessel in the body has its own kind, 
and the doctor who is not acquainted with each 
cannot heal any, for if you do not know the 
degree of danger in the wound, how shall you 
heal it ? You know not where the veins are 
situated, nor how to hold them fast so that the 
sick man keeps his life, for these things proceed 
from knowledge only. And yet you may be- 
come doctor and master like other fools. 

"4. If you do not know the length, number, 
form, situation, and purpose of each member 
with all that belongs to it, it is a sign that you 
know nothing else, because this is the very 
least that you should know : you do not even 
know what you have got yourself and how you 


hold yourself. A fine master, truly ! a clever 
barber and bather, who must make a parade 
with his mouth because he can do nothing. 

" 6. A doctor must be able to look ahead and 
to give his verdict from observation of symp- 
toms. It is no use boasting of scholastic learn- 
ing, of books and travels. All such talk is 
trumpery, if he does not know ! " 

The Third Qualification concerns the treat- 
ment, what it behoves a doctor to know, and 
is divided into seven particulars : 

" 1. He shall know plants of every kind and 
understand well for what purpose they 
are serviceable to him. 

44 2. He shall know which medicines cleanse 
and heal quickly, which slowly, as 
the nature of the wounds makes ad- 

44 3. He must be prepared for every possible 
contingency, and know what it is 
when it occurs. 

44 4. He must know what to allow and what 
to forbid to the sick ; what is suitable 
and what is not suitable. 

44 5. He must know which medicine is of most 
value for the contingency and must not 
experiment with others which he does 
not understand. 

44 6. He must be aware of the effect of 
each medicine, how to strengthen or 
weaken it as is necessary, and he must 
not always harp on one string. 


" 7. He must despise no art nor arts, but 
learn from all to understand the more. 

"For know, there are two kinds of 
doctors : those who have regard to the 
shekels and those who attend to the 
needs of the sick." 

These quotations throw a lurid light on the 
condition of the medical profession and on 
the character and conduct of its practitioners 
in the first half of the sixteenth century. Para- 
celsus lost no opportunity of denouncing the latter, 
and that to their face, for just such men crowded 
into his lecture hall, and it was an act of ex- 
traordinary heroism on his part. He was com- 
pelled to denounce the shameless ignorance, 
insolence, and greed of the vulture doctors of 
his time that he might make his students good 
doctors and urge them to study, to make 
experiments, to seek truth with all their heart 
and mind, to set in its right place the claim 
of the wounded, the sick, the stricken. He did 
it fearlessly, perhaps not without an under- 
current of satisfaction in his exposure of the 
miscreant crew. He felt that his just indigna- 
tion was essential to the ruin of the mischievous 
system which prevailed in medical craft. 

To illustrate his medical teaching, we must 
select one or two of the treatises into which he 
introduced his theory of the three basic prin- 

If we take that on open wounds, or diseases 


of the skin, which follows the treatise just 
quoted in the volume edited by Toxites at 
Strassburg in 1571, we have a striking example 
of the manner in which he applied his theory. 
It is impossible to reproduce these lectures at 
their full length, because of the space which 
they would occupy, but what is quoted is given 
as much as possible in his own language. 

The treatise begins with an expansion of his 
theory and reiterates his contention that God 
provides the healing means in nature alone, and 
that He directs their discovery and use. 

" All skin wounds are occasioned by salt : 
as it rusts iron so it rusts the tissues of the body. 
Many kinds of rust or harm occur in the minerals, 
for each metal has its own peculiar nature; 
thus copper is harmed otherwise than iron. 
And knowledge of these helps us to recognise 
that such harm appears in men too. A man 
has a sore and it is healed by treatment. The 
metal too has a sore and it can be healed by 
treatment. What happens in the one case 
happens in the other ; for these are the secrets 
of nature, the Magnolia Artium, with which 
God endows the physician. He is ordained to 
this wonderful knowledge, to receive it from 
nature's illumination, and from the sick whom 
he can observe and from whom he can work it 
out. The doctor must therefore know what 
harms the skin and what heals the harm, both 
kinds of knowledge to be found in nature. 

"Salt is of such a nature that it devours 


and gnaws like a hidden fire which no one can see 
in substantial form, or like the sting of a nettle. 
Note the herbs and especially the spices : their 
leaves, their flowers, their fruits burn like little 
flames ; such are water-cress, mustard, nettles. 
So also note animals that bite and sting. All 
possess and set in action invisible fires, whose 
result is visible. Just as in the things of exter- 
nal nature, so is it in man. In him are salts 
of many kinds, which in time come to be like 
little flames in the body. One of these may set 
the other on fire, and this it does by nature's 
powers. Many salts, too, are to be found in 
trees. In some there is a kind of salt which 
gnaws away the wood in wormlike fashion. 
So in man, in wolves, in other animals there 
are salts, such as arsenic, which crawl about 
putrefying and devouring. This happens where 
ever salts may be, according to their nature. 
And there are many natures and kinds in man, 
so that no one harm is like another. Some 
salts burn like nettles, some like vitriol, some 
itch like lead, some blister like mustard, for all 
these things in men must be separated like 
the things in nature and classified according to 
this or that family and species. 

" Salt works in its own kind, that is, it devours 
itself, but it also devours mercury and sulphur 
with itself, and is the cause of its own destruc- 
tion, as is the case with all created things as- 
sured of destruction, which do not devour the 
rust, the gnawings, and the scrapings. These 
concern the power of nature which takes them 
away and destroys them. Therefore a man 


must consult a doctor who knows the power of 
nature. For medicine is a gift, and to whom 
it is given he has it, and to know what nature 
has is the beginning of the gift. This is wisdom. 
For the doctor gradually becomes a physician 
from the illustrations, verifications, learning, 
and instruction of the work and revelation 
of nature. Therefore every doctor must under- 
stand that he be furnished with the power of 
medicine as God has created it, and not at- 
tempt to do without it. There is a secret fire 
then in the things of nature and in men, in 
which, when it burns, men lie like lime seething 
in water. For the body, just where the salt 
is placed and where it burns like pepper or 
alkali, may be compared to a fluid body. It 
devours the very thing which is its own body ; 
salts of iron burn iron, salts of copper burn 
copper, and each part of the body has its own 
salt, the blood-vessels, the tissues, the marrow, 
the bones, the articulations, each according to 
its nature. Whoever knows these kinds well 
knows how the sores come to the body. 

" There was an old saying amongst the learned 
that 'where the philosopher ends there the 
physician begins.' This means that the doctor 
should observe and gain experience of the active 
powers of natural things, so as to know them 
where he finds them. There are in the human 
body a salt of fire (flamulse), a salt of borax, a 
salt of arsenic, and many others. There is no 
theorising about them as the ancients did, or 
learning about them as the philosophers did, 
for the sores and wounds have their laws and 


there is nothing to be built on conjecture and 
fantasy. For the physician cannot begin until 
philosophy ends. These laws must be handled 
by themselves, and of this philosophy knows 

"Our teaching is that nature has included us 
in her work, because man is the microcosm, 
and it is upon this foundation that the doctor 
must dedicate himself. There are wide differ- 
ences between what the ancient doctors taught 
and what we here teach, and therefore our 
healing art widely differs from theirs. For we 
teach that what heals a man also wounds him 
and what has wounded will also heal him. For 
the nettle can be so changed that it does not 
burn, the flame does not scorch, the chelidony 
does not cicatrise. Thus similars are good in 
healing : such and such a salt to such and such 
a sore. And the things which heal a wound in 
nature heal the same sort of wound in man. 
The doctor must learn to recognise these similar 
wounds by learning from nature, and when 
nature ceases to teach from her own examples, 
the doctor must know what treatment to practise, 
else is he no doctor but a philosopher. 

"The carpenter thinks out how a house should 
be, and so he makes it. Not so the doctor. 
He may not think out how a sickness should be, 
for he does not make it. Nature makes it 
and knows well how it is, and if the doctor 
would know, he must inquire of Nature and 
acquaint himself with what she teaches, for 
just so it will be. The carpenter hews down a 
tree and works with it as he needs and pleases, 


but not so a doctor. Medicine does not allow 
itself to be carpentered as he chooses, but 
remains as it is, and he must so treat it. There- 
fore it is well to learn in the place where know- 
ledge is to be found, and that is in its own 
examples, which can tell and teach nothing 
with the mouth, but with signs, can paint, 
point out, exercise the power that is in it. If 
Nature does not wish every man to know, she 
indicates her teaching to those who understand 
by parables and mysteries. Thus our wisdom 
teaches us in figures and forms and by similes, 
so that if we have the desire to learn, we learn 
inwardly through these. Has not Christ said : 
' It is not given to all to understand, but to 
them it is and has been given ' ? To him only 
who can understand. Therefore it is reasonable 
to ridicule the old theories with their causes, 
reasons, and the like. And those who follow 
whither they lead, may be even more ridiculed. 
Such people fulfil the proverb 'A blind man 
leads the blind,' and if one falls into the ditch, 
just so many fall into medicine without recog- 
nising that it is a gift not given to every one ; 
without knowing knowledge, without under- 
standing its art, without consciousness of their 
own deficiency, without seeing. There are 
many people in our day in whom there is nothing 
and in whom nothing can ever be, who have 
neither mind nor heart for medicine, to whom 
the monkish doctors even are not contemptible, 
and who do not so much as recognise their 
ignorance ; although the monk-doctors have 
tried every possible roguery before they fled 


for refuge to medicine ! Prove well your know- 
ledge and your motives. For many amongst 
you are not doctors but have been bawlers 
and leaders astray." 

In the next lecture Paracelsus returned to 
his "Three Principles": 

" Salt is that body which preserves the other 
two from corrupting, for where there is no salt 
there is no corruption in process. Salt is placed 
in all bodies, that each may be preserved in 
freshness. Therefore there are many kinds of 
salt. So, too, there are many kinds of mercury 
and many kinds of sulphur. And therefore 
there are many kinds of trouble and going to 
pieces. All that has savour is salt ; it may 
taste like pepper, still it is salt. In gentian salt 
is bitter, in sugar it is sweet, in sorrel acid, 
and yet, however different these savours are, 
all are salt. But all are differentiated like flesh, 
one like this, one like that, one the flesh of an 
ox, one the flesh of a fowl, one the flesh of a fish, 
one that of a reptile, yet all flesh, in which is 
the soul or life-spirit of each. But however 
much we may differentiate, one man will hold 
a particular tissue for flesh, another will not. 
And so one man will say that honey has no 
salt, but that pepper has salt. And yet both have 
salt, for they could not exist as honey and pepper 
without salt. Now, there are many kinds of 
salt visible, so that the doctor can see of what 
kinds they are, and these differentiate into many 
species, and as in nature so in man, each kind 


according to its specific nature. The salts 
that man uses are of many kinds, which flow 
through water, which have seethed in the earth 
and are drawn out of it by water. Others are 
drawn from metals, others are coagulated, so 
that there are many varieties. We prepare a 
fine salt, a pure salt, a supreme salt, and so on. 
But all these salts are alike in that they all 
tear to pieces. Some salts tear and heal again, 
as do the salts of alum. For alum both devours 
and heals. Vitriolic salts are also visible, and 
in many forms. Salts of lead are of many 
kinds and of different natures : also salts of 
lime and salts which can be separated from other 
bodies. Note well that they do not exist for 
themselves, but are mixed as a third body in 
everything to complete it. For every substance 
contains metallic bodies, according to its several 
members. From which it follows that the 
metallic bodies are as liable to death as the 
others, for their salt is arsenic. Understand 
that this is the case with all the other genera of 
bodies. The whole earth is linked together 
through these bodies and with man. Through- 
out all men there pass the fountain veins ; the 
salt-veins which penetrate to every part of 
the human body, in all regions of the earth. 
Some are in its pores, and as when it rains out 
of heaven, moisture gushes out of the pores. 
Earth and heaven are in the body and are 
separated there. And as by the action of water 
on the earth stones are formed, so are gravel 
and stone formed in the body. And this is for 
the physician to discover rather than for the 


surgeon. Therefore the matter must be ex- 
plained from the beginning ; but the surgeon 
should know all about those sores which come of 
themselves, that they are due to the salts which 
flow throughout the anatomy, nature and being 
of the body. We know the thing to be so in 
nature and it must be all the more thoroughly 
investigated in medicine. In a natural state 
no harm occurs, because these things are in 
the earth and in the body. They are not visible 
in that state. But when they are prepared 
from the earth, we discover them through our 
art. As through the seething of salt we learn 
how food is torn asunder by the digestive viscera, 
so we make other discoveries through the pre- 
paration of alum, the fuming of lime, and so on. 
And as the things are sought and found, they 
become powerful to separate. It is man who 
is the artist, who brings the body into prepara- 
tion and makes of it what it becomes through 
his art. His operation completes it. But the 
preparation must be the exaltatio paroxismi, 
else is there no result and the body is as useless 
as if it were still in the earth." 

The treatise continues at length and is followed 
by another giving a sequence of lessons in 
healing the sores and diseases which come from 
the action of salts grown corrupt. But enough 
has been quoted to suggest the vitality of his 
teaching ; its depth and reach ; his quite 
extraordinary recognition of the universality 
and similarity of life in minerals, plants, and 


animals, a recognition which is only now be- 
coming a part of our positive science, although 
it prevailed in very early mystic teaching ; 
his sense that the Creator has made macrocosm 
and microcosm interdependent in all physical 
essentials, so that what man needs in his own 
little world is provided for him in the mightier 
world of nature ; his impassioned ethical sense 
of the healing virtue of a good and well-ordered 
life, and his detestation of ignorance, irreligion, 
boasting, hypocrisy, greed, and vice. 

It is evident from this brief excerpt that 
Paracelsus was the father of homoeopathy, and 
this is corroborated by all his writings and by 
the tendency of his treatment. 

Perhaps a short account of his two treatises 
on paralytic and other seizures which disable 
the members may illustrate another side of 
his teaching. These treatises were published 
in the same collection of Hohenheim's works 
in 1571, but Dr. Sudhoff tells us that the edition 
of Toxites was the third, as they had been printed 
in 1563 in Adam von Bodenstein's collection at 
Basel, and in 1564 at Cologne, in the appendix 
of " Philosophia ad Athenienses." 

Toxites gives his edition as the third, and 
adds to its title the quotation from Psalm cxiv. : 
" Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Thy 
name be the glory." 

In Adam von Bodenstein's edition, from 
which the following notes are taken, Psalm Ixiv. 


is quoted : " They that hate me unjustly and 
persecute me without cause are more than the 
hairs upon my head. But Thy salvation, O 
God, doth deliver me." 

A fourth edition was included in Huser's 
Strassburg edition in the beginning of the 
seventeenth century. 

In the first of these treatises Paracelsus treats 
of the causes of paralysis and like attacks, with 
their results in powerless or crippled members 
of the body ; in the second he deals with their 
cures and the form, length, and order of the 
treatment necessary to each kind of seizure. 
They are due, he says, to external and internal 
causes. The former are brought about by 
accidents, sudden falls, shocks, gunshot wounds, 
and wounds from the arrow of the cross-bow. 
The latter come from stoppage in the digestion 
or in the blood-vessels ; some from gravel or 
stone in the kidneys which produce crookedness 
and lameness ; some from diseases in the back 
and hips which produce deformity of the spine ; 
some from disease in the intestines which are 
invisible and where the pain is agonising ; some 
from diseases in the knee and foot. But some- 
times the whole body becomes paralysed, and 
this may be caused by sudden rage. It is the 
worst form and affects women more than men. 
Anger sets the gall in action, and its heat en- 
genders both the acid and the bitter throughout 
the body. Another cause is immoderate drink- 


ing, which engenders and increases acidity, pro- 
vokes gout and other lythiac diseases. 

To heal these it is necessary that the spirit 
of life should reach the cause of disease and 
drive out its vicious strength by its own power. 
The special humours of the part affected must be 
set in motion. Therefore the medicines should 
be directed towards opening the pores so as to 
heat the pores which moisten the blood-vessels 
and nerves. Care must be taken that the 
medicines are in the same degree as the illness ; 
if they are weaker they will not expel it. They 
must be serviceable in quality, because not all 
aperitives will do ; they must have a specific 
fitness, so that they may specifically serve 
specific diseases. If the disease is in the highest 
degree, so that neither heat nor cold, drought 
nor moisture avails, then a medicine compounded 
of natural substances as follows may help. 
The main thing is to recover the life-spirit, 
which can recuperate and renew to the great 
comfort of the body. It must be restored to 
the members to drive out the poisoned power 
with its poison. By such treatment medicine 
may destroy the disease. And the medicine 
requires special consideration. No common, 
coarse compound will do. If the disease raises 
great waves of heat through the body, it needs 
a spirit medicine, for only a spirit can penetrate 
its subtle way through the whole body, for the 
members have torn and twisted the body as if 


it were tied in knots. Great restoratives may 
effect a cure, such as aurum-potabile, oleum solis, 
materiam perlarum, essentiam antimonii, arcana 
quintce-essentice, aquavitce, oleum vitrioli and 
others. " And truly man cannot enoiigh praise 
God with all diligence, and thank Him for His 
fatherly grace and goodness in giving this 
medicine, for it suffices." 

Another treatment is through the fumes of 
powerful balsams as terebinth, laurel, oleum 
^ranarum, adipum gummorum, etc. At the end 
he explains how to make these medicines by 
extract and distillation and prescribes the quan- 
tity suitable for a dose. 



"No doubt these dogmas fall not to the earth 
For all their novelty and rugged setting." 

SCANTY as are these quotations from the body 
of his doctrine, they suffice for the present to 
indicate the revolution which he projected. 
He boldly denied 

The established points 
Ages had sanctified and men supposed 
Could never be oppugned while earth was under 
And heaven above them. 

He framed a system which was workable, which 
followed no authority except that of nature 
and experience, which disregarded the dead 
and deleterious literature of the past and 
opened the wholesome pages of the Codex 
Naturae, a system which led straight to exact 
knowledge and rejected useless reiterations un- 
verified by research. Paracelsus set men's feet 
in the right path, although it took centuries 
to restrict them to it. Men have in their ig- 
norance classed him with impostors and char- 
latans. But he delivered us from imposture 



and set before us the truth for goal and for 

Dr. Franz Strunz has said : 

' Paracelsus was a pioneer as doctor, as 
student of nature, as theologian, for he beheld 
nature and the world as they are, and saw 
all things in the light of nature, so that 
he roused to new life, orderly induction, and 

However little the Germans of his time under- 
stood him, their best thinkers of to-day gener- 
ously acknowledge his importance to the German 
renascence ; his services to exact science, which 
he rescued from captivity and placed in light 
and liberty ; his combination of minute ob- 
servation, patient research, insight and massive 
intellectual grasp, in the exercise of which all 
facts that came before him took their places 
in a symmetrical and comprehensive synthesis ; 
his wide culture and generous humanity ; his 
deep sense of the spiritual world within and 
around the natural ; his consciousness that the 
divine and the eternal hold firm the imperfect 
and the transitory and in the fulness of time 
rescue it from its vicissitudes. 

Paracelsus observed and chronicled facts not 
as an amateur of fragmentary knowledge, but 
because they led him to the mighty under- 
lying laws whose working they signified and 
whose pressure on all things and through all 


things he realised laws wielded by omnipotence, 
working in order potent in the microcosm as 
in the macrocosm. 

But how hard it was to make his Basel 
students understand either his starting-point or 
his reach. They wished to learn his secrets, 
not his knowledge. [He said himself : " They 
will not study for their degree, but want to 
fly to it before their wings have grown. "^ 

Many of them came as mere boys -to the 
college, too young, too rough, and too ignorant 
to understand. They were influenced against 
him by the faculty and by the whole medical 
body outside the University. His straight 
words concerning the profession were not cal- 
culated to propitiate its members. His cures 
especially in cases which the " doctorculi " 
had aggravated by their ignorance and mal- 
treatment, inflamed their jealousy. It took 
the form of a vile crusade against him. His 
lectures, his treatment, his character were de- 
famed ; the most despicable insinuations against 
his probity were circulated. Doctors, apothe- 
caries, and the parasitic nondescripts who bled, 
bathed, and tortured their unhappy clients 
banded together for this campaign. Professors 
who were his colleagues were not ashamed 
to join the heterogeneous crew. Their aim 
was to oust him from his lectureship and his 
practice, to be rid of this agitating interloper, 
who held up the mirror of truth to their in- 


competency, and to restore the academic fatuity 
whose primeval peace he had disturbed. 

Naturally the enemies of Luther and Zwingli 
were the promoters of this crusade, although 
Paracelsus considered that his contentions de- 
served inquiry upon grounds entirely removed 
from those of the Church reformers. Name 
after name was hurled at him : " the Luther 
of medicine," a " vagabond who assumed the 
title of doctor." The faculty fell into a very 
dotage of garrulous epithets. He was a " liar," 
a " suborner," a " fool," a " necromancer," 
" possessed of the devil," an " ox-head," the 
" forest-ass of Einsiedeln." 

He was not slow to retaliate. The doctors 
were " a misbegotten crew of approved asses," 
the apothecaries were " scullions," and their 
potions were " foul broths." 

" The doctors take more trouble to screen their 
movements than to maintain what concerns 
the sick, and the apothecaries cheat the people 
with their exorbitant prices and demand a 
gulden for messes not worth a penny." 

His retorts were barbed with truth and 

When the autumn holidays came, he accepted 
an invitation to Zurich, glad to escape the sordid 
fray. He was enthusiastically welcomed by 
the medical students there, feasted, applauded, 
listened to with delight. He was happy in their 


company and called them his combibones optimi, 
and they responded with " our own Theo- 
phrastus." Upon this interchange of convivial 
compliments was founded the ludicrous accusa- 
tion of habitual drunkenness which served the 
medical canaille of Basel for renewed attack 
when he returned. Considering the habits of 
Swiss and German burgesses both then and now, 
their consumption of wine and beer on every 
trivial occasion, it was indeed a case of the 
vpot calling the kettle black. A banquet at 
either Zurich or Basel in our own day without 
the tankard and the toast is inconceivable, 
and these were as popular in the sixteenth as 
in the twentieth century. It was no reproach 
to our Tudor monarchs that they could empty 
a flagon of foaming ale, and the combibones of 
Paracelsus were quite as used to the thinner 
brew of their cantons as English royalty was 
to heady October. But it was a convenient 
contumely and the drunkards hurled their own 
repute with gusto at their foe. 

An ill-timed death accentuated the outcry. 
Frobenius, whom Hohenheim had cured more 
than a year earlier, died suddenly of an apo- 
plectic fit, and the " doctorculi " were jubilant. 
Theophrastus killed his patients as effectually 
as they did themselves. No doubt his wonder- 
working tinctures had proved too powerful. 
The persecution assumed a new and still more 
discreditable character. The stroke was brought 


on by a journey on horseback taken by Frobenius, 
against Hohenheim's advice, to the Book Fair 
at Frankfort. But it served the purpose of 
his calumniators, who contemned truth as an 
ill servant. Insulting and anonymous letters 
were left at his house accusing himself and his 
medicines of murder. One of these indicated 
his " holy laudanum," the tincture whose recipe 
his foes had vainly sought to steal. As he said 
himself, he " would rather laugh than growl 
at them, but they had libelled and slandered 
the basis of his medicine and attempted to get 
him out of the way." 

It was his system that he fought for, the sys- 
tem so dearly bought, of whose importance he 
was convinced, for whose sake he stood alone 
against the world. 

His enemies reached the climax one Sunday 
morning when on the doors of the Cathedral, 
the churches of St. Martin and St. Peter, and 
on that of the new Exchange, they affixed a 
document compiled in excellent Latin and pur- 
porting to be a letter from the shade of Galen. 
It was the habit of some members of the tribe 
to sit just below Hohenheim's desk at the 
University, to make notes of his invectives 
against Galen and Avicenna and to record his 
mordant attacks on the whole farcical faculty 
of medicine in Basel. These men were the agents 
of his foes, who constructed the lampoon. 
Roughly translated, it runs as follows : 

1528] GALEN OUT OF HELL 138 


Hear, tliou who dost soil the glorious renown of my name. 

A talker to thee, an idiot am I, in good sooth ? 

Thou sayest of Machaon's art I hold not the feeblest experience, 

Or having it failed in practice expert to employ it. 

Unbearable ! have I not known the commonest simples ? 

Onions and garlic and hellebore, well do I know them. 

Hellebore I send unto thee, a cure for brains that are addled : 

I send it as well as all others which benefit fools and the witless ! 

True 'tis I know not thy mad alchemical vapourings, 

I know not what Ares may be, nor what Yliadus, 

Know not thy tinctures, thy liquors divine of Taphneus 

Nor Archeus, thy spirit preserver of everything living in all 


All Africa bears not so many portentous creations. 
And yet, thou nonsensical fool, thou contendest in parley with me ! 
Art thou itching to measure with mine thy weapons in wrath, 
Thou who answeredst nothing to Wendolin's well-reasoned word ? 
I doubt me if thou art worthy to carry Hippocrates' wash-pot 
Or even art fit to give food to my swine or to herd them. 
Hast thou made thyself pinions that fell from the wings of a 

crow ? 

Thy glory is false and abides scarce a moment in view. 
Hast thou read ? Thou shalt lose what in cunning of speech thou 

hast won 

And thy works of deceit will bring thee to poverty's pain. 
What wilt do, thou insane, when within and without thou art 

known ? 

Good counsel it were to hang thyself up by the neck. 
" Let us live," doth he say, " we can always change our abode ; 
If imposture avail not, some other adventure I plan : 
What if a second Athenas, a universe new I proclaim ? 
Not one of the audience I speak to can so much as guess what I 

The Stygian law here forbids me to speak with thee further 


Enough for thee now to digest ! Reader and friend, fare thee well ! 

Out of Hell.* 

" A spiteful and scurrilous fabrication," Dr. 

* Appendix C. 


Julius Hartmann calls it, and a public insult 
to the honour of a deeply injured man. While 
his cowardly foes confined themselves to anony- 
mous slanders, he did not condescend to 
retaliate. But this lampoon carried their per- 
secution too far. It was the work of neither 
barber nor bathman. The apothecaries had 
not learning enough to contrive it. It bore 
internal evidence of being constructed by one 
of the medical faculty conversant with Latin, 
conversant too with his system and with his 
lectures. It was this which wounded him to 
the quick. He had poured out the treasures 
of his research and his induction to men who 
treated them as fantastic ravings and himself 
as a madman. In vain his skilful care of the 
sick, in vain his cures, his rational treatment, 
his reform of drugs, his reverence for a duty 
which he esteemed as no less than sacred. 

He addressed an indignant appeal to the 
Town Council no deferential petition, but a 
demand for rigorous intervention against his 
slanderers : 

" In unbearable anger and distress it is fitting 
that the sufferer should call upon the magis- 
trates to protect, counsel, and help him. If 
he has been silent concerning the many slander- 
ous letters sent to him, it is now impossible for 
him patiently to suffer such an injurious libel 
and outrage as this which has now been openly 
posted up. From the tenor of the lampoon 


it is evident that the author is one of his daily 
listeners. He had already suspected that there 
were some who instigated and suborned other 
doctors of medicine to write against him. But 
now, he demanded that the whole body of 
his hearers should be summoned and examined 
so as to discover who wrote the lampoon that 
the libeller might be dealt with as he deserved. 
. . . He could not himself vouch that his tem- 
perament might not urge him to say or do some- 
thing injudicious were he to receive no support 
in this matter, or were he to be further incensed. 
In no circumstances would he suffer more in- 

" These things have I pointed out to you, my 
strict, wise, noble gentlemen, to whom I com- 
mend myself with dutiful submission, your 
obedient subject, 

" Doctor of Medicine and City Physician." 

We discern between the lines an indignant 
contempt for the <c strict, wise, noble gentle- 
men " who had neither the power nor the wit 
to protect him. He sent a copy of the lampoon 
along with his letter, so that nothing might be 
wanting to endorse his demand. 

Outwardly he mastered himself and kept 
back the vituperation which would have re- 
lieved him, but in private he spoke his mind. 
" Even a turtle-dove would be enraged by these 
sordid beasts." " Knaves did it : shall I be 
a lamb ? rather do they turn me into a wolf," 


Amongst his friends he let himself go, and 
invented new nicknames for his foes, of which 
the mildest were " Dr. Simpleton " for the 
doctors and " scullery-cooks " for the apothe- 
caries. He continued his daily duties undaunt- 
edly : the sick believed in him and his ignorant 
rivals were powerless to rob him of his skill or 
his patients of their faith. No longer were the 
poor of Basel sacrificed to the greed of simple- 
ton, scullion, and barber. The most virulent 
enmity could not damage his reputation as a 
physician, but it could do worse. 

It happened that at this crisis a certain 
wealthy canon of the Cathedral, called Liech- 
tenfels, was attacked by an illness, and offered 
a hundred gulden to whoever should cure him. 
Many tried and failed. The Catholic dignitary 
would have nothing to do with Paracelsus, 
the friend of Basel's reformers, until death 
stared him in the face and would not be scared 
by foul air, foul brews, and orations. So at 
last he sent for Hohenheim, who in three days 
relieved him of pain and sleeplessness. It was 
too easily done, and the ugly story of man's 
ingratitude has to be told again. Canon Liech- 
tenfels refused to pay what he had promised 
and tried to put off his healer with six gulden 
and his compliments, " knowing his life's worth 

The insult broke down Hohenheim 's brave 
self -repression. His displeasure was volcanic. 


He gave counsel and medicine to the poor for 
nothing, but from a wealthy priest the promised 
fee was his due and he appealed to the law, 
such as it was, in Basel. The law refused to 
endorse the validity of Liechtenfels' promise, 
and adjudicated the six guldens a sufficient 
fee for visits and medicine. 

This gross miscarriage of justice, coming so 
soon after the lampoon, upset the last reserve 
of Hohenheim's discretion. He had been in- 
sulted on every hand. His character, his learn- 
ing, his skill had been made the derision of 
fools ; the magistrates had failed to avenge 
him ; the judges had betrayed and insulted 
him. He could bear no more : he would pay 
them out in their own coin. He wrote a " flying- 
sheet" in which he took the judges to task for 
their shameful verdict and gave free vent to 
his anger and scorn : 

" How should they understand the value of 
his medicines ? Their method was to vilify 
the physician. Should a sick man be healed 
they must needs tell him not to pay for his 
cure, so that the sick and the law judged of 
healing as if it were shoemaking." 

We can find no libel in these well-deserved 
strictures, but apparently the sensitive souls 
of Basel's judges suffered, and orders were given 
that Paracelsus should be seized and imprisoned. 
The city was in an uproar, His enemies were 


triumphant. It was said that he was to be 
outlawed and exiled to an island on the Lake 
of Lucerne. His friends warned him secretly 
and he left Basel during the night. This was 
early in the year 1528. His revenge was to 
come, and it was drastic. 

Browning holds that the supposed illness 
of Canon Liechtenfels was a deliberate scheme 
to incense Paracelsus, and this is only too 
possible. The poet puts into Hohenheim's 
mouth a probable version of the whole episode 
of his professorial life at Basel : 

Just so long as I was pleased 
To play off the mere antics of my art, 
Fantastic gambols leading to no end, 
I got huge praise ; but one can ne'er keep down 
Our foolish nature's weakness. There they nocked, 
Poor devils, jostling, swearing, and perspiring, 
Till the walls rang again, and all for me ! 
I had a kindness for them which was right ; 
But then I stopped not till I tacked to that 
A trust in them and a respect a sort 
Of sympathy for them ; I must needs begin 
To teach them, not amaze them, " to impart 
The spirit which should investigate the search 
Of truth," just what you bade me ! I spoke out 
Forthwith a mighty squadron in disgust, 
Filed off " the sifted chaff of the sack," I said, 
Redoubling my endeavours to secure 
The rest. When lo ! one man had tarried so long 
Only to ascertain if I supported 
This tenet of his or that ; another loved 
To hear impartially before he judged 
And having heard, now judged ; this bland disciple 
Passed for my dupe, but all along it seems 
Spied error where his neighbours marvelled most. 

.... The end 
Was a clear class-room and a quiet leer 


From grave folk, and a sour reproachful glance 

From those in chief who, cap in hand, installed 

The new professor scarce a year before ; 

And a vast flourish about patient merit 

Obscured a while by flashy tricks, but sure 

Sooner or later to emerge in splendour 

Of which the example was some luckless wight 

Whom my arrival had discomfited, 

But now it seems the general voice recalled, 

To fill my chair and so efface the stain 

Basel had long incurred. I sought no better, 

Only a quiet dismissal from my post, 

And from my heart I wished them better suited 

And better served. Good-night to Basel then ! 

But fast as I proposed to rid the tribe 

Of my obnoxious back I could not spare them 

The pleasure of a parting kick ! 

This " parting kick," the flying-sheet, was 
mild compared to the chastisement of the 
deliberate indictments and invectives which 
he drew up for the preface to his ' ' Buch Para- 
granum." The Basel of 1528 is pilloried in these 
to all time, and as they embody his defence 
against accusation, insult, and calumny, they 
belong rather to this chapter than to that 
more especially concerned with the " Para- 
granum " : 

" When I had made known the errors of 
medicine," he wrote, " on no trivial grounds 
of guess-work, but from close observation of 
many diseases, the doctors were highly in- 
censed thereby ; not only those whom my 
arguments touched, but the ignorant crew as 
well, who knew nothing of medicine, but who 
were stirred up to take part against me and to 


put me to open shame concerning my teaching. 
On behalf of my present as well as my future 
standing, I write this book ' Paragranum,' 
and treat in it of the sources of my knowledge, 
sources outside of which no doctor can be de- 
veloped, and I shall reveal myself so fully in 
this that my very heart shall be laid open, 
for which I shall doubtless excite in those people 
not merely opposition, but bloodthirsty rage, 
a thing of no importance to me should my 
book serve for the good of the sick. ... I 
neither reproach nor slander, as will be imagined, 
but exercise the privilege of authority to bring 
error to light and to hold up offences to their 
merited punishment with well-grounded ex- 
planation and without anger. What I maintain 
will be better propounded in my future writings, 
with greater practice and special experiment, 
although I expect to meet with just the same 

" I have written already much that affects 
my enemies, and above all concerning their 
impositions, how enormously the prices of drugs, 
whether of wood or mercury, or purgatives, are 
kept up by the doctors, and how senselessly 
they practise cauterising, cutting, burning on 
every pretext. I have had to suffer contempt 
for my other writings those concerning acidity, 
the origin of pustules, pharmacy, the method 
of letting blood, and all that I have written 
in the ' Paragraphorum,' writings which they 
do not understand. They even proposed to 
expel me to the Island called of Pontius Pilate. 
Therefore I remain in Germany, the soil on 


which my pillars of medicine shall stand, and 
I ask those of you who have read my writings 
to judge whether they shall be discontinued, 
or whether I shall go on writing. I undertake 
to explain briefly how they attempt to reveal 
my folly and reveal their own, to show up my 
experience and show up their own, to lay bare 
my reason and truth and lay bare their own 
evident to all men, their inward heart which 
resembles the outward doctor. 

4 They reproach me that my writings are 
not like theirs ; that is the fault of their under- 
standing, not my fault, for my writings are 
well rooted in experiment and evidence and 
will grow and bear their young shoots when the 
right may-time comes. They have good cause 
to complain of my writings, for no one cries out 
unless he is hurt ; no one is hurt unless he is 
sensitive ; no one is sensitive unless he is transi- 
tory and not eternal. They cry out because 
their art is destructible and mortal ; what is 
mortal cries out, and they are mortal and cry 
out against me. 

" The art of medicine does not cry out against 
me, for it is immortal and set upon such an 
eternal foundation that heaven and earth shall 
be shattered e'er medicine perish. So long 
as I am at peace with medicine, how can the 
outcry of a doctor trouble me ? They cry out 
because I wound them ; it is a sign that they 
themselves are sick in a dying medicine ; the 
symptoms of their sickness are their strife 
against me, because they are not willing to 
be discovered and exposed. ... I seek the 


foundations of my writings in knowledge, learn- 
ing, experience, and duty, and so break up their 
attack and their arguments against me, for 
each of them wields a different argument, 
although in medicine there is but one source 
which cannot be destroyed. And their argu- 
ments are developed from fragments, there- 
fore the doctor defends this, the bachelor of 
medicine that, the barber this other, and the 
bathman what is left. 

" Their worst contention against me is that 
I do not come out of their schools, nor write 
out of their erudition. Did I so write, how 
should I escape punishment for lying, for the 
old writings are manifestly false. What then 
should be developed from them except false- 
hood ? Should I write the truth about their 
medicine, about its students, masters, and 
preceptors, I should need to band them all 
together shouting out what medicine is, for 
their outcry needs to be exposed just as much 
as their art. So, if I attempt to write the truth 
about them, I must point out those bases upon 
which true medicine stands, that people may 
recognise whether I have or have not authority. 

" I place the foundation of which I write 
upon four columns, Philosophy, Astronomy, 
Alchemy, and Virtue : upon these four I rely, 
on each will I dwell, noting whether any phy- 
sician who stands outside the four will rise up 
against me. Scorners are they of Philosophy ; 
scorners of Astronomy ; scorners of Alchemy ; 
scorners of the Virtues. How shall they escape 
the scorn of the sick since they despise what 


true medicine gives to the sick ? For with the 
same measure with which they mete will it 
be meted to them again, and their works will 
bring them to contempt. 

" Christ was the source of blessedness, for 
which He was scorned, but the true scorn over- 
took the scorners when neither they nor Jeru- 
salem remained. And I may well compare the 
doctors of the Schools and the barbers and 
bathmen to the hypocrites who loved the highest 
seats in the assembly of scorners. There is 
no doctor except the man who becomes one 
from the foundation of the four pillars. He 
must collect his knowledge from these four ; 
it is they who make the doctor, not the man ; 
they are knowledge of all sickness, they are its 
symptoms ; they are medicines ; in them lies 
the physician's healing ; in them too lie the 
faith and hope of the sick, as in the Cross of 
Christ lies the resurrection of the dead. 

" And because I write from the true source 
of medicine, I must be rejected, and you who 
are born neither of the true origin nor of the true 
heredity must adhere to the spurious art which 
raises itself beside the true. Who is there 
amongst the instructed who would not prefer 
what is grounded on a rock to what is grounded 
on sand ? Only the abandoned academic 
Bacchantes who bear the name of doctor must 
suffer no deposition ! They abide, painted 
doctors, and if they were not painted with this 
title, who would recognise them ? Their works 
would certainly not reveal them. Outwardly 
they are beautiful, inwardly they are squalid 


dunces. What instructed and experienced man 
desires a doctor who is only an outward show ? 
None; but the simpletons desire him. What 
then is the origin of that medicine which no 
instructed man desires, from which no Philo- 
sophy issues, in which no Astronomy can be 
noted, in which no Alchemy is practised, 
and in which there is no vestige of Virtue ? And 
because I point out these things essential in a 
physician, I must needs have my name changed 
by them and be called Cacophrastus, I, who am 
Theophrastus, both by my christening and for 
my art's sake. 

" Understand then thoroughly that I make 
clear the bases of medicine upon which I stand 
and will stand : Philosophy, Astronomy, Al- 
chemy, and the Virtues. 

4 The first pillar, Philosophy, is the knowledge 
of earth and water : the next, Astronomy, with 
Astrology, is full of knowledge of air and 
fire : the next, Alchemy, is knowledge through 
experiment, preparation, and fulfilment of the 
four elements mentioned ; and the fourth pillar, 
Virtue, should be in and remain in the doctor 
until death, for this completes and preserves 
the other three. And mark me for you too 
must enter here and come to understand the 
three pillars, else it will be known by the very 
peasants in the villages that your trade is to 
physic princes and lords, towns and countries, 
through lies and deception only and that you 
neither know your trade nor the truth, for the 
education which prepares you fits you for fools 
and hypocrites, all you supposed physicians. 



^M &w 

I t 1 :> 

lit ;p 


And as I take the four pillars so must you take 
them too and follow after me, not I after you. 

" Follow after me, Avicenna, Galen, Rhasis, 
Montagnana, Mesue. Follow you me and not 
I you, ye from Paris, from Montpellier, from 
Wirtemberg, from Meissen, from Cologne, from 
Vienna, from the Danube, the Rhine, and the 
Islands of the sea : Italy, Dalmatia, Sarmatia, 
Athens : Greek, Arab, Israelite, follow you me 
and not I you : of you will no one survive, not 
even in the most distant corner. / shall be 
monarch and mine will be the monarchy, which 
shall bind all your countries. . . . 

" How will you shout ers endure it when your 
Cacophrastus becomes a prince of the monarchy 
and you become chimney-sweeps ? How will it 
seem to you when the sect of Theophrastus 
triumphs and you are driven into my philo- 
sophy ? . . . O poor soul of Galen, had he 
but lived in immortal medicine his shade had 
not been flung into the abyss of hell, whence 
he wrote to me a letter dated from hell. I had 
not thought, I had not imagined that the prince 
of doctors would have been sent to the devil's 
stronghold : certainly his disciples must follow 
after him. Is that a prince of medicine and shall 
medicine be founded upon him ? Then must 
doctors be the greatest rogues under the sun, 
and in sooth they prove well that they faithfully 
follow in his steps." 

It is impossible not to sympathise with the 
honest sarcasm of this sorely wounded man, 
whose knowledge generously offered to all had 


been rejected, insulted, treated with foulest 
contumely. Paracelsus knew that he was right ; 
he never doubted that his light came from God, 
was " God's lamp, whose splendour soon or 
late should pierce the gloom." 

Ten years after his death, his doctrine was 
taught at Basel. Basel was " driven into his 
philosophy." He has been blamed for ex- 
pressing his anger in terms of fierce contempt. 
Fifteen centuries before Paracelsus there was a 
Healer, in whom he believed, who used no mincing 
words to veil His indignant grief that the men 
whom He came to save received Him not. 
Hypocrites, liars, vipers, " an evil and adul- 
terous generation," " thou whited sepulchre " 
form no feeble category of epithets under which 
Christ classed His foes. 

It is in this Introduction to the book " Para- 
granum " that Paracelsus alludes to the at- 
tempt of his enemies to involve him in what 
they called Luther's heresy. He says : 

" Serpents are you and I expect poison from 
you. With what insolence have you blazoned 
out that I am the Luther of Medicine, with 
the interpretation that I am a heresiarch. I 
am Theophrastus and more so than him to whom 
you compare me. I am that and am monarch 
of doctors as well, and may inform you of what 
you are not willing to know. Luther can justify 
his own affairs, and I will account for mine, 
and will surpass those marvels which you sum 


up against me : to that the arcana will exalt 
me. Who are Luther's foes ? the very gang 
that hates me. And what you wish to him 
you wish to me to the fire with us both. The 
heavens did not make me a doctor, God made 
me one : it is not the business of the heavens 
but a gift of God. I can rejoice that rogues are 
my foes, for the truth has no foes except liars. 
I need wear no harness, no coat of mail against 
you, for you are neither very learned nor very 
experienced, since what you bring against me 
are the merest trifles. I will guard my mon- 
archy with arcana, not such as the apothecaries 
brew, foul broths. But you must guard your- 
selves with dilly-daddles and sugar-candies. 
How long think you they will last ? You scoun- 
drels, you have sought to drag me under the 
harrow, but for the harrow your own backs 
will be bared and into your own wolf-traps 
will you fall. . . . 

" I tell you the down on my chin knows more 
than you and all your writers, my shoebuckles 
are more learned than Galen and Avicenna, and 
my beard has more experience than all your 
universities. . . . God will make other doctors 
who will understand the four elements and 
magic, the Kabala, which to you are as cataract 
in your eyes : they will be geomantists, adepts, 
archei, spagyrists : they will possess the 
arcana, they will have the tinctures. Where 
will your foul broths be then ? Who will then 
redden the thin lips of your wives and wipe 
their sharp little noses ? The devil with a 
hunger-napkin. ' ' 


He takes them to account point after point 
for their ignorance of healing definite diseases, 
as anthrax and pestilence ; for their carelessness 
in diagnosis, for their disregard of the pulse 
and its suggestion of symptoms. 

" Remember these things," he concludes, 
" so that you may come into the higher medicine 
and not into that which neither God nor nature 
has planned, so that you may tread in the 
straight paths which I have pointed out to you 
in many volumes written from the source of 
the four pillars, Philosophy, Astronomy, Al- 
chemy, and the Virtues : wherein it is my 
desire to urge you, my listeners, that you may 
accept nothing outside these four corner-stones 
upon which I base what follows, so that you 
may comprehend the foundation and the origin 
of my writings and reflect on them and on 
what is opposed to them, each according to 
its basis, value, and practical worth. 

" Dixi." 



I will fight the battle out ; a little spent 
Perhaps, but still an able combatant. 

PARACELSUS grieved to leave the city to which 
his work amongst the poor, his lectures, and a 
few understanding friends had greatly endeared 
him, the battle with his foes perhaps not hinder- 
ing, since he was a proved Titan amongst the 
pigmies, who in the end had overcome by 
pitiable intrigue. Amongst his friends was the 
humanist Boniface Amerbach, the son of a 
printer in Basel, who died in 1514, Johann 
Amerbach, a man of great learning in his day 
who published a fine edition of the works of 
St. Augustine, as well as other patristic litera- 
ture. He had another son called Basil, and 
both these men belonged to the best culture 
of the renascence. 

Of Boniface we know that he was a close 
friend of Erasmus, who made him his heir, and 
of Hans Holbein, to whom he was helpful. 
At this time he was Professor of Law at Basel, 
and to him Paracelsus wrote two letters from 
Colmar soon after his flight. The flight was 



urgent. Had he lingered another hour, he 
would have been a prisoner at the instigation 
of the judges of Basel. But once out of the 
canton he was free from their jurisdiction. 

Much that we know of his faring hither and 
thither during the spring and summer of 1528 
we learn from these two letters, whose originals 
are preserved in the ecclesiastical archives of 
Basel. Up to March 4, which is the date of 
the first, he had heard nothing from Basel 
or its authorities. " Perhaps," he wrote, " I 
spoke somewhat too freely against the magis- 
trates and others, but what does it matter since 
I am able to answer the accusations made against 
me, as I have always maintained ? " He claims 
justification for encountering as he did the 
virulent attacks made upon his honour and 
his truthfulness. ' Truth draws hatred, first 
hatred from my professional fellows, then 
hatred, anger, envy from magistrates and 
judges." And he asks Amerbach to defend 
his friend Theophrastus when his enemies ac- 
cuse him. 

He seems now to have dedicated himself to 
fight out the battle with what he called the 
" Aristotelian Swarm." 

" I am not afraid of them," he wrote in the 
first Book of the " Paramirum," " but I am afraid 
of the discredit which they will thrust upon 
me and of the out-of-date Law, Custom, and 
Order which they call Jurisprudence." 


We know already something of his campaign 
in the Introduction to his book " Paragranum," 
which was not written until after he had finished 
the " Paramirum." 

The fugitive made his way into Alsace and 
halted at Ensisheim to see a meteoric stone 
which had fallen there a year before his own 
birth, and which may still be seen in the Town 
Hall. It was in the choir of the church when 
Paracelsus saw and examined it. He declared 
its components to be stone and iron and its 
weight 110 lb., much to the consternation of 
the superstitious townspeople, by whom it was 
cherished as miraculous and who had exag- 
gerated its weight to 380 lb. 

Paracelsus, who knew that the whole universe 
was the outcome of one logical conception, 
found no incongruity in the discovery of well- 
known minerals doubtless included in the whole. 
The inscription is still to be read and records 
in doggerel how the stone fell near the gate of 
Ensisheim during a tremendous storm of thunder 
and lightning, and how it was brought to the 
church in a solemn procession with chanting 
of psalms. In his book " Concerning Meteors," 
which was not published till 1569, Paracelsus 
describes this stone. 

He went on to Rufach the same day, and was 
there the guest of Dr. Valentine Boltz, a man 
of sympathetic mind, a learned humanist, who 
in later years edited " Six Comedies of Terence." 


They continued to be friends for the remainder 
of Hohenheim's life, and in the year before he 
died he dedicated a treatise against the Ana- 
baptists and other anti-Christians to Valentine 

Paracelsus did not tarry long at Rufach, how- 
ever, but hastened to Colmar, the capital of 
Upper Alsace, where for a few days he stayed 
with Dr. Lorenz Fries, a famous physician with 
whom he had already corresponded. He was 
a man like all the friends of Paracelsus, learned, 
cultured, moderate. These friends were the 
best products of the German renascence, neither 
bigoted Catholics nor frenzied Protestants, men 
who desired the reformation of the Church 
and the universities, but who deprecated re- 
volution. Such men had the progress of science 
at heart, and could appreciate the new system 
of research and exact record. They could con- 
sole him with their comprehension and restore 
his lacerated self-respect with their sympathy. 

Dr. Lorenz Fries, although of the Galenic 
School, welcomed the famous antagonist of 
the Schools to Colmar. From this house he 
wrote the first of his letters to Amerbach, saying 
that he had found in the home of Dr. Fries 
" what he had sought after the storm, safety 
and bearable quiet days." 

Dr. Fries had suffered for his own opinions, 
although these in no way impugned the ancient 
teaching. He advocated the use of German 


instead of Latin at the universities, so that 
medical instruction might be open to those 
who knew no Latin. Just at the time when 
Paracelsus was his guest, he was writing his 
defence against accusations on this account. 
Four years later he published his " Mirror of 
Medicine," in which he says : 

" Methinks German is not less worthy to ex- 
press all things than are Greek, Hebrew, Latin, 
Italian, Spanish, French, into which languages 
we find every matter interpreted. Shall our 
language be of less importance ? No, rather of 
more, because it is an original language, not 
patched together of Greek and Latin like French." 

He would receive the heartiest sympathy 
and encouragement from Paracelsus, who had 
suffered for the same cause, and this community 
of conviction would keep other differences in 

When Paracelsus left Basel, he took nothing 
with him, except perhaps his most precious drugs. 
But when he felt himself secure at Colmar, he 
sent for Oporinus and his luggage. When they 
arrived he hired a lodging with a cellar and set 
up his laboratory in the latter. He needed no 
great display of apparatus, only " a fireplace, 
coals, bellows, tongs, hammer, crucible, and 
ashes of good beech wood." The retorts and 
phials would be in the Vasa Chymica brought 
by his secretary. Dr. Fries knew Hohenheim's 


fame as a healer and was probably interested 
in the tinctures, essences, and mineral drugs 
which could in no way injure Galen's re- 

In both letters to Professor Amerbach, Para- 
celsus mentions that a great number of sick 
persons sought his help and kept him longer in 
Colmar than he had intended to stay. He made 
some valuable friends there and amongst them 
were two Catholics who remained loyal to their 
Church during those years of stormy controversy. 
This fact alters somewhat the aspect of the 
Basel persecution, which has been ascribed to 
bitter antagonism from the Catholic party there, 
but which was probably far more due to ran- 
corous professional jealousy. Paracelsus, how- 
ever much he sympathised with the reformers, 
never left the Catholic Church. Like Erasmus, 
he was for reform not for disruption. 

These two citizens were Hieronymus Boner 
and Konrad Wickram, to both of whom he 
dedicated books written at Colmar. Boner, 
like Dr. Fries, was a humanist, a deeply inter- 
ested student of Greek and Latin literature, 
and a translator of Thucydides, Demosthenes, 
and Herodotus. Paracelsus speaks of both as men 
to whom he was warmly attached. It is pleasant 
to think of this quiet haven from insult and 
persecution for the harassed man whom labour, 
privation, and suffering had prematurely aged. 
He was now barely thirty-five years of age, 

1528] IN COLMAR 155 

but looked nearer fifty. He took little rest or 
recreation, although surrounded by sympathetic 
friends. He was busy with patients in Colmar, 
in other parts of Alsace, and across the Vosges. 
Oporinus was kept at secretarial as well as 
chemical work, for Paracelsus wrote an integral 
part of his great surgical work as well as the two 
treatises already mentioned. That dedicated to 
Boner deals with French Smallpox, Paralysis, 
Boils, Perforations, Agues and the like, and 
consists of material which was afterwards in- 
cluded in the " Little Surgery." 

It was presented to Boner on June 11, with 
a dedication which begins : ' To the most 
famous Hieronymus Boner, Provost of the town 
of Colmar, with greeting and all service from 

In the Introduction he praises the wisdom, 
goodness, and miraculous power of God in the 
realm of the spirit and the intellect, and above 
all in medicine, and ends by associating his 
work with the " honour of God and the service 
of man." 

The other book was given to Konrad Wickram, 
city- magistrate in Colmar, on July 8. Its 
dedication exalts the love of our fellow-man, a 
love which undertakes all work with a single 
eye to the common good, for which alone the 
author has desired to work, that he may serve 
others and spread abroad the knowledge of true 


" Yes, even the polemics in his book are 
justified by the consideration that he has been 
constrained to encounter every error, miscon- 
ception, contradiction, and fallacy both in the 
practice and theory of medicine, which might 
be injurious to the public well-being, and that 
he therefore only withstands those who ply 
such weapons. " 

The book was on " Open and Visible Diseases " 
and has already been noticed. 

His patients were astonished at his skill. 
Even Oporinus admits that " in Alsace he was 
admired by all as if he had been Esculapius 
himself." He lingered in Colmar till well on 
in July, busied with researches on the French 
Malady and its cure. 

It is likely that he had long suspected his 
secretary of treachery, but had borne with him 
for the sake of his intelligence, industry, and 
experience. But when he left Colmar he either 
dismissed him or Oporinus went away of his 
own accord, discouraged by the prospect of 
restless and precarious wanderings. " This 
archknave that dogs my heels as a gaunt crow 
a gasping sheep," Browning makes Paracelsus 
describe him to Festus at Colmar, and the com- 
parison may have some verisimilitude. But 
they parted in peace and Paracelsus gave 
Oporinus a portion of his store of laudanum, 
which he found of great use in an illness shortly 
afterwards. He went back to his elderly wife 

1528] OPORINUS 157 

at Basel and lived for forty further years, be- 
coming an excellent printer known for the cor- 
rectness of his work and the purity of his Greek 
and Latin. He was four times married and 
struggled all his days with debt. That Para- 
celsus often laughed at him and even contrived 
practical jokes at his expense is probable if not 
certain. He did the same to " studious Franz," 
who had more humour than poor Oporinus, 
and loved his master all the better. On his 
death-bed Oporinus confessed to Toxites that 
he had never realised how great a man his 
master was and that he bitterly rued two things 
having lost Hohenheim's books by lending 
them to other people, and having written a 
scurrilous letter against him. This letter con- 
tains the famous accusation against Hohen- 
heim of over-much drinking and is the only 
evidence on the subject. It need not be credited 
and may have been inspired by resentment 
against Hohenheim's ridicule and exuberant 
laughter when he was stupid. But unfortu- 
nately the slander bore fruit in the works of a 
Swiss called Lieber, born at Baden in Switzer- 
land in 1524, a man who never saw Paracelsus, 
but being a convinced scholiast collected all the 
calumnies and lampoons against the leader of 
the new scientific school and expressed under 
the name of " Erastus " the hatred of the class 
who hated him without cause in four venomous 
books " Against the New Medicine of Philip 


Theophrastus." It is enough to add that 
Erastus believed in anything that was unpleasant, 
in witches, black magic, monsters, and the pranks 
of the devil. 

Archbishop Netzhammer repels the calumny 
with point and propriety : 

" In vain may we seek amongst his numerous 
writings for a single passage in which he cele- 
brates the joys of wine ; on the contrary he 
points out again and again that he who serves 
his appetite will find pleasure neither in him 
nor in his teaching. Theophrastus was no 
drunkard, but we believe that he despised 
neither beer nor wine. He says expressly in 
one of his surgical books : ' Beer is more whole- 
some than wine, that is to say it produces less 
sickness than wine.' ' 

Oporinus was spiteful because of his own 
lack of understanding, a lack which atrophied 
all gratitude for the extraordinary advantage 
he enjoyed as first recipient of conceptions that 
ushered in a new dawn of science. 

How bitterly Paracelsus felt the ingratitude 
of these men whom he clothed, fed, and paid, 
and to whom he revealed his far-reaching philo- 
sophy not alone in its magnitude, which they 
could not grasp, but in its details of practice 
and treatment of healing drug, ointment, plaster 
and tincture, which they appropriated and 
boasted as their own discovery, is poignantly 
revealed in many of his books. In the Intro- 

1528] ESSLINGEN 159 

duction to his " Biicher Bertheonese," he tells 
us how few of his students accepted the teaching 
and counsel which he gave them. He had 
helped to educate hundreds of doctors, but of 
them all he could claim only two from Pannonia, 
three from Poland, two from Saxony, one from 
Slavonia, one from Bohemia, one from Holland, 
none from Suabia, although he had a multitude 
of students in every land. In Switzerland none 
grew to be doctors, although some of them 
claimed to be so ; they were no better than the 
Suabians, " a sect of lost physicians." 

When he left Colmar it was for that barren 
field. He went to Esslingen, where the Bombasts 
von Hohenheim had some relics of their old 
possessions. One of these was a corner house 
on the meadow of St. Blaise, and it happened 
to be empty. Paracelsus made of it a tempor- 
ary lodging. It had two arched cellars under 
one side of the doorway, a smaller leading out 
of the larger and ventilated by a shaft up to 
the back yard. This cellar was about thirteen 
feet long and thirteen feet high with a breadth 
of ten feet. A small niche was in the wall, 
which his furnace just filled. When the roof 
was seen in 1882, it was found to be covered 
with astrological signs and cabalistic characters 
too blackened to be accurately deciphered, and 
at the same time there was found on the floor 
a little double- sided hammer with a handle and 
a mortar with long iron pestle, both very old. 


He fitted up this cellar with the equipments 
necessary for his laboratory, and worked at 
both alchemical and astrological experiments and 
problems. A tradition still living in 1882 records 
that here he practised dark and mysterious 
rites by night, and when the proprietor of the 
house restored it in that year and removed the 
cellars, he had a life-size portrait of Paracelsus 
painted on the gable wall to propitiate the ghost 
of the " old magician." He is represented clad 
in doublet and furred cap with gold chain and 
jewel, and the picture is apparently founded 
upon a woodcut of the portrait now in the Louvre. 

In all probability the work done in the " Para- 
celsus cellar " did partake of the marvellous 
and may have been his " Prognostications for 
Europe concerning the years 1530 to 1534," 
published at Nuremberg at the close of 1529 
by Friderich Peypus, who printed it with great 
care. It had an extensive circulation and was 
reprinted no fewer than five times during this 
and the following year. 

This is the first time that Paracelsus appears 
in the role of a prophet. His midnight experi- 
ments were probably astrological and may have 
been necromantic, although he condemned ne- 
cromancy. The title-page of the first edition 
gives us some ground for this surmise. Dr. 
Sudhoff tells us that three-fourths of it are 
occupied by a fine woodcut, in which a warrior 
appears above, surrounded by clouds, his head 


turned downwards, his feet in the clouds, a 
shield on his right arm, a drawn sword in his 
left hand, a great double-rayed star on his 
body. Rays of light fall from his face upon 
the seven planets below, represented by typical 
figures which stand on a layer of clouds. These 
figures are in full sunshine, but at one side rain 
falls from the clouds round the armed man. 
Directly under the clouds on which the planet 
spirits stand are a coffin of glass and a litter ; 
in the coffin lies a crowned man. Reversed 
torches fill the right and left corners below. 
A later edition showed a figure of the plague 
mowing people down with a scythe ; a dragon 
and a lion against which a crowned knight 
levels his lance ; a crowned emperor and a 
turbaned sultan apparently making peace, and 
another armoured knight. It ends with the 
doggerel : 

Who does not die in hunger-need 
Nor falls on field of battle dead, 
Who safely flees the deadly pest 
And from the jaws of savage beast 
Escapes, may well in comfort say 
Now comes there many a happy day. 

At Esslingen, attracted by rumours of his 
occult occupations, a heterogeneous collection 
of so-called disciples gathered round him whose 
worthlessness he afterwards so tersely charac- 
terised. Some of these hangers-on were his 
servants, some his secretaries, some his pupils. 


His habit of working by night was now con- 
firmed. He slept very little, four hours at 
most, for his mental vitality so coerced that of 
his body that we cannot wonder at the pre- 
mature aging of the latter. Unfortunately he 
had no wealthy patients at Esslingen to supply 
payment for his needs and those of his followers. 
Many of the latter were proved rogues and fell 
into the hangman's hands, and he was probably 
pitilessly robbed. The result was practical 
bankruptcy and he was obliged to give up his 
house. He took to the roads again, followed 
by some of his ragged dependents whom he 
gradually shook off. 

Paracelsus described the time spent at Esslin- 
gen as " misery " ; but it is believed that he 
returned once again if not twice. His nature 
could not lose 

Her first imprint ; 

It still must hoard and heap and class all truths, 
With one ulterior purpose : I must know ! 

He had tried settled life, but what dull citi- 
zenship could content his thirsting, eager soul, 
ever longing to discover more of the natural 
and of the supernatural and finding it neither 
amongst the bookworms of Basel nor the smug 
philistines of Suabia ? 

Apparently he went first to Switzerland, 
perhaps visited his friends Zwingli and Leo 
Judse at Zurich, and reached St. Gallen early in 
1529. Here he had three friends, the two 

1529] AT ST. GALLEN 163 

brothers Schobinger and Joachim von Watt, 
known as Vadianus. His special friend was 
Bartholomew Schobinger, a man of fine in- 
telligence, keenly interested in science and par- 
ticularly in chemistry. He invited Paracelsus 
to stay with him for some time and help him 
to arrange and furnish a complete chemical 
laboratory at Castle Horn, in which they worked 
together. He was known as the " rich philo- 
sopher " and was honoured by the Emperor 
Ferdinand, who granted him the right to bear 

We do not know exactly how long Hohenheim 
stayed at Castle Horn, but it was long enough 
to include the painting of his portrait for Bar- 
tholomew Schobinger. This picture is now in 
the Historical Section of the Museum at St. 
Gallen, but before it was placed there it be- 
longed to Mr. August Nief. It is painted in 
oil on linen canvas and is about twenty-two 
inches in height and eighteen in breadth. It is 
not in good condition, but the engraving kept 
in the Town Library, and taken when the 
original belonged to Mr. Nief, is clear and good. 
It shows Paracelsus at the age of thirty-six, 
when he wore a short dark beard the colour 
of his hair. His dress is careful. He wears a 
white shirt finished by a collar of lace, a pale 
green doublet cut out at the neck to show the 
collar and damascened florally in dark green : 
a black mantle hangs from his shoulders in 


heavy folds. His right hand, which is partly 
concealed by these folds, rests on the cross- 
handle of his sword, his " trusty Azoth," and 
attached to a cord round his neck is the jewel 
which disappears under his mantle. The back- 
ground shows a dark red curtain drawn to one 
side, and level with this is the inscription " Theo- 
phrastus Paracelsus, 1529," in three lines. 

Whilst with the Schobingers, he met their 
famous contemporary and relation, Vadianus, 
humanist and reformer, through whose efforts 
the Reformation was accomplished in St. Gallen. 
This man, whose memory lingers there in the 
name of street and library, was another of 
those influential sons of the renascence so 
important at that time of ferment and transition. 
Born eleven years before Paracelsus, the son of 
a wealthy merchant, he was sent to the Uni- 
versity of Vienna when he was eighteen years 
old, just before Dr. Wilhelm von Hohenheim 
migrated from Einsiedeln to Villach. In Vienna 
he met Zwingli and came under the influence 
of the famous German teacher Conrad Celtes, 
who brought with him to Vienna the fine flower 
of renascent culture. Joachim von Watt 
caught its stimulus and became an eager human- 
ist. Virgil was his favourite amongst the 
classic poets, and the copy which he used, a 
manuscript on old parchment, can still be seen 
at the Town Library of St. Gallen, under Pro- 
fessor Dierauer's appreciative care. He made 

1529] VADIAN 165 

studies of a great many Greek and Roman 
works, wrote treatises on poetry and rhetoric, 
edited books both ancient and contemporary, 
and made himself acquainted wth the current 
discoveries of Portugal and Spain in the interests 
of geography, for which he had a special gift. 
He spent sixteen years at Vienna and then 
returned to St. Gallen, perhaps because his 
parents were aging, perhaps because the Re- 
formation struggles required him. But for some 
years before his return he had been studying 
medicine and had even taken his degree. 

In this lay the key to his interest in Para- 
celsus. Such a mind as Vadian's, born with 
the renascence, attracted by all it had of new 
and vitalising, cultured by the sons of the 
renascence, must have lost patience with the 
meaningless reiterations of ancient science and 
have gladly turned to the voice of the fore- 
runner who cried in the wilderness " Prepare 
ye the way of the Truth." Vadian became 
burgomaster and historian of St. Gallen, his 
humanism matured into a great humanity, 
his classicism was transmuted into German 

When Paracelsus left Switzerland, he made his 
way slowly northwards through the south and 
east of Wirtemberg into Franconia. We do 
not know how he travelled, but his aim was 
Nuremberg and he reached the famous city, 
after long loiterings on the way, on November 23, 


1529, a date which indicates some months of 
wayfaring. As he travelled, he was besieged 
by itinerant students and even by physicians, 
and halted in many places to examine and teach 
them, finding amongst them no God-given 
worth at all, only the usual curiosity, greed, and 

He carried with him his " Prognostications " 
and his completed work on the " French Malady." 
It had been written very carefully. 

" There are many indications," says Pro- 
fessor Julius Hartmann, " that he revised his 
writing over and over again, rejected its first 
form when on such revision new and better 
terms suggested themselves, and often modified 
its more violent epithets." 

To this book he had given the greatest care. 
It was written in three parts, the first of which 
condemns the medicines then employed, because 
they aggravated rather than allayed the disease. 
The second points out the true treatment and 
medicines and explains how and for what 
purpose these are to be used. The third deals 
with the disease itself and points out how other 
new and unheard-of maladies result from mis- 
taken and false methods of medical treatment. 

In Nuremberg no book could be published 
without passing the Censor. The reason for 
this lay in the number of lampoons and slander- 
ous fly-sheets that had been exchanged by 




the Catholic and Protestant contending parties. 
Government had decreed the establishment of 
a Censor's Court in 1523, so that no publication 
could take effect until the manuscript had been 
examined and authorised. Paracelsus sub- 
mitted his writings to the Court and received 
permission to print them. Along with the 
" Prognostications " he entrusted his book to 
Friderich Peypus, who brought it out in quarto 
form, consisting of fifty-four sheets and a title- 
page decorated with a border of small wood- 
cuts with the shield and initials of the printer. 
It bore the title : " By the most learned Master 
Theophrastus von Hohenheim, concerning the 
French Malady. Three Books." 

He dedicated this, and another treatise on 
the contagious character of the French Malady, 
to the Censor, " The Honourable and Estimable 
Master Lazaro Spengler," in gratitude for his 
prompt permission to publish it. He left the 
city while it was being printed and lived quietly 
at Beratzhausen, a village near Ratisbon, on a 
small tributary of the Danube. Here, in peace, 
he busied himself with new writings, hoping that 
they would be speedily printed at Nuremberg and 
given to the world. But this hope was shattered. 
An order came from the city that no more of 
his books were to be published there. It proved 
to be another vengeful stroke from " Galen 
in Hell." 

The Medical Faculty in Leipzig had read his 


book and had taken umbrage at his insistence 
on the ignorance and mischievous blundering 
of their class. So with all ceremony they ad- 
dressed themselves to the Council of Nuremberg 
and requested that no further writings by 
Theophrastus von Hohenheim should be printed 
there. They did not like being called " im- 
postors," a title which Paracelsus freely bestowed 
on all doctors of the old school in the first section 
of his book. Probably they felt he was right. 
We find amongst his surgical works a copy of 
an indignant letter written but not sent to the 
magistrates of Nuremberg, very ceremonious as 
to their titles, but with unmodified contempt 
for their action : 

' It is not your business to judge or forbid 
without careful consideration and discussion : 
as a matter of fact you are not able to judge 
of my work, you have not intelligence enough. 
If the University has any reason to complain 
of me, let it appoint a Disputation, not for- 
bid public publication. Until I am vanquished 
in a Disputation such a prohibition is repression 
of the truth. Printing is for the bringing of 
truth to light. My writing concerns neither 
Government, princes, lords, nor magistrates, but 
occupies itself with the deceptions of medicine 
so that all men, rich and poor, may be set free 
from abomination." 

The letter which he sent was more guarded 
and more courteous. He spoke 


After the original painted in Nuremberg in 1529 or 1530, now in the Royal 

Gallery at Schleissheim, near Munich, 
p. 168] 


" of his great desire to write what would really 
benefit the sick, who were so grievously mal- 
treated and allowed to perish. He trusted that 
a city like Nuremberg, which was celebrated 
for its action in protecting the truth, would also 
protect the men who made the truth known, 
and would grant them room and refuge. Let 
those who doubted the truth of his statements 
meet him in an open Disputation, which, as 
formerly so now, he would willingly attend." 

This letter, written on March 1, 1530, was sent 
to the magistrates, but received no acknow- 
ledgment. It is little wonder that in after 
writings he relieves his feelings in an occasional 
sarcasm against the city of shattered hopes and 
lost illusions. " They have forsworn physicians 
and God mercifully allows them four all 
fools and even horrors." 

Plain words these, and unpleasant, perhaps not 
altogether deserved, for it is evident that the 
worthy officials were frightened to maintain 
their first opinion in face of the authoritative 
verdict of Basel and Leipzig. Hohenheim had 
the volcanic temperament needed to destroy the 
old order* which he knew to be corrupting the 
world, as he had the piercing insight which 
discerned the spirit of the new order amidst a 
welter of troubled and heaving stagnation. 
But the stagnant had to be laid bare in all its 
mischievousness, to be revealed for what it had 
become, The very men who had recognised 


the degeneracy of the Church were slow to 
admit its parallel in the realm of knowledge. 
Only here and there had the reformer of science 
a sympathetic listener, and that amongst the 
few who, able to master the literature of medi- 
cine in its earliest form, had realised how far 
its teaching had strayed from its first points of 
departure and direction. 

In his childhood he had acquired the sim- 
plicity of speech still observable amongst the 
Swiss and a certain homeliness of expression, 
simile, and illustration which never left him. 
He had a message to give which needed direct- 
ness, a reveille to a new day, a new discipline, 
a new point of departure, and he shouted his 
message abroad in language that all could 
understand, and he shouted abroad as well 
his titanic wrath at those who, hearing, closed 
their ears and sought to stifle his appeal. There 
was no time for mincing courtesies ; the world 
needed a new birth and had first to pass through 
the scathing fire of truth, the old earth and the 
old heaven had to be shrivelled up as a roll, and 
a new earth and heaven had to be discerned 
in their stead. Paracelsus set his torch to the 
waste-heap and scared its blind and dingy 
guardians, who denounced him for sacrilege. 



I never fashioned out a fancied good 

Distinct from man's ; a service to be done ; 

... a strength denied 
That might avail him. 

PARACELSUS stayed at Beratzhausen for seven 
or eight months and worked there in the peace 
and beauty of the Laber valley. Although 
injured and wounded, his sensitive mind and 
spirit maintained their courage, their self- 
respect and their dignity. What memory have 
they left who hurled insult after insult at this 
their greatest contemporary ? They are gone 
like the " snows of yester-year," and even if 
the name of one or another survive it is because 
he insulted Paracelsus and, like a hero of the 
" Dunciad," his fame is his infamy. 

Hohenheim was engaged on the first book of 
the " Paramirum " and progressed steadily. 
Dr. Strunz tells us that the " Paragranum " was 
also written at Beratzhausen, and it is apparent 
that its Introduction was the fruit of a very 
fresh recollection of his experiences and per- 
secution at Basel. It is even possible that it 



found expression at Colmar or Esslingen, and 
that he kept it till it was required for the " Book 
Paragranum," which more than any other of 
his writings presents in complete form and 
condensed explanation his whole system of 
theory and practice. But at Beratzhausen 
he seems to have been absorbed with the " Volu- 
men Medicinae Paramirum Theophrasti." It 
was divided into two parts, together constituting 
" Paramirum Primum," and to these were gradu- 
ally added two further parts, which form the 
" Opus Paramirum," or " Paramirum Secun- 
dum," and three books known as third, fourth, 
and fifth books of the " Paramirum." We may 
credit Beratzhausen as being the birthplace of 
the " Volumen " and part of the " Opus Para- 


In them he prosecuted the work to which he 
had now dedicated himself to make known by 
writing his new system of research and healing, 
which included diagnosis, treatment, medicine, 
and the use of powers which are now admitted 
into rational practice safeguarded by responsi- 
bility. If men would not listen to him, they 
should in time read him and learn of him, not for 
the sake of polemical insistence, but for that great 
purpose to which he was dedicated, the good of 
those who needed healing and were at the mercy of 
64 doctors who are no better than executioners." 
The prohibition to print in Nuremberg was a 
discouragement of the most serious character, 


and yet it could not check his energy. If not 
in Nuremberg then doubtless elsewhere, perhaps 
in St. Gallen, or in Zurich, and if not immedi- 
ately then assuredly in the future. And after 
all it was Basel which rejected him that first 
printed his " Opus Paramirum," that first 
" came into his philosophy." 

During spring and summer he practised his 
profession and was often sent for to attend 
rich patients. The poor he sought out himself. 
His skill was everywhere admitted, his medicines 
worked marvels of healing, and his personal 
influence helped his power. 

But another sordid tale of maltreatment and 
dishonesty has to be told, which recalls the sick- 
room of Prince Philip of Baden and the thievish 
miserliness of Canon Liechtenfels. A certain 
Bastian Castner who lived at Amberg, some 
thirty miles from Beratzhausen, was suffering 
acute pain in the leg and had vainly consulted 
many physicians. He was advised to try Para- 
celsus, and sent for him, promising to pay the 
hire of a horse for the journey and to give him 
food and drink as well as his fee. At first 
Hohenheim refused to go so far, but he was 
over-persuaded and rode to Amberg, where, 
on demanding the money for his horse, he met 
with a blunt refusal. He decided to leave at 
once, but was induced by more promises to 
see the patient and undertake his cure. He was 
given a room and meals of the scantiest charac- 


ter at Castner's house. He soon discovered 
the cause of disease and was proceeding success- 
fully with its treatment, when his patient's 
brother, or brother-in-law, a Dr. Burtzli, broke 
into his room, stole his medicines, and then 
dismissed him, to carry out the cure himself. 
All this Hohenheim has told us in the preface to 
a treatise " Concerning Mercury," which is dated 
" from my desert at Amberg, at my lodging, 
12 July 1530." He counsels all doctors to guard 
against those patients who invite them to take 
food and drink in their houses. It was his too 
common experience to receive such treatment 
from the rich, although he gave them his many- 
sided knowledge, his practised help, and his costly 
medicines. From the poor he neither exacted 
nor desired professional reward, from the rich 
he claimed it. He expressed his views upon 
this point in the Introduction to his three books 
of the " Bertheonse " " Concerning Wounds 
and Sores," first published in 1563 by Adam 
von Bodenstein. He considers the doctor's 
fee to be due when the treatment is completed. 
But this fee is not mere ploughman's, shearer's, 
or shepherd's wages : the doctor brings help 
to the sick man, so he deserves more than straw 
or wool ; but if the fee due to him be withheld 
let him make no loud outcry for it, but rather 
in obedience to God let him render help to the 
evil man three times over. 

It seems certain that he returned to Beratz- 


hausen for a short time and then set out 
again on his travels. We do not know their 
first stages, but in the late autumn of 1530 
he was at Esslingen for the second time, and by 
March, 1531, at St. Gallen, where he had his 
headquarters during the rest of that year. 
In Esslingen he experienced once more a rich 
patient's ingratitude. 

Perhaps the " Prognostications," which oc- 
cupied his mind and pen in the latter part of 
1530, led him back to his cellar in Esslingen, 
since they are of an astrological character. 
They seem to point to the crisis rapidly develop- 
ing between Catholicism and Protestantism. 

At St. Gallen, and indeed throughout Switzer- 
land, this tension had reached its climax. A 
reformer called Kaiser had been burned as a 
heretic at Schwyz, and this excited the reformed 
party to such a degree that Zwingli counselled 
armed coercion of the Forest Cantons. When 
Paracelsus arrived at St. Gallen, he found 
himself in the midst of religious strife, his 
friends the Schobingers and Joachim von Watt 
taking part with the reformers. Indeed, it was 
due to Vadian that St. Gallen became a Pro- 
testant canton. 

We are told that Hohenheim lived all summer 
and autumn in the house of the burgomaster 
Christian Studer, who was in bad health and 
had put himself under the new treatment. 
Studer was Bartholomew Schobinger's father- 


in-law, and we learn from Schobinger that Para- 
celsus resided six months with Studer. But 
besides the care of his host, he attended the 
poor of the town without fee or reward. He 
threw himself into the religious fray and helped 
to spread the knowledge and its message in 
St. Gallen. It was the evangelical not the 
political and ecclesiastical side of the Reformation 
which he espoused and which he ardently pro- 
claimed. No Protestant of them all knew his 
Bible better, for he had studied it from the 
years which he spent with Trithemius and cited 
it again and again as the revealed will of God. 
He was both doctor and evangelist at St. Gallen 
in the summer and autumn of 1531. He 
worked hard at his books too, continued the 
" Opus Paramirum " and dedicated its two 
parts as well as the third book to Dr. Joachim 
von Watt. 

An incident of that year was the appearance 
of a comet, perhaps Halley's. This was seen 
about the middle of August, and Paracelsus 
observed it from the Hochberg of St. Gallen. 
He sent a written account of it to Leo Judse at 
Zurich. Leo, who had just finished his trans- 
lation of the Bible, put it at once into the hands 
of a printer at Zurich, and one of the two sur- 
viving copies is to be found at the City Library 
there. It is entitled " Interpretation of the 
Comet which appeared in the mountains in 
the middle of August, 1531. By the most 

p. 176] 



learned master, Paracelsus." The title-page 
shows a rough woodcut of a comet. The dedi- 
cation runs : " Theophrastus to Master Leo, 
preacher in Zurich, his greeting. Given on the 
Saturday after St. Bartholomew's." This fixes 
the date as August 26, for St. Bartholomew's 
day fell that year on a Thursday. In this book- 
let Paracelsus foretells from his observation of 
the comet trouble, bloodshed, and more par- 
ticularly the death of illustrious men. His 
forecast was speedily fulfilled. 

The Protestant cantons blockaded those of 
the Forest, Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden, 
and these assembled eight thousand men and 
marched to the confines of Zurich between Zug 
and Cappel. Here, on October 9, a battle 
was fought in which the Protestant force was 
defeated. Zwingli had gone with the soldiers 
to minister to them, and while kneeling beside 
a wounded man a stone hurled him to the ground 
and he was then pierced with a lance. He died 
where he fell, his body was quartered by his 
foes and burnt, its ashes scattered to the four 
winds. The Benedictine from Einsiedeln, who 
had joined him in Zurich when he began the 
Reformation there, was also killed, although he 
too was there to minister and was unarmed. 
They died for the religious liberty of Switzerland, 
for the freedom to preach in all its cantons, but 
they were rash in bringing it to the test of the 
sword. Next month (Ecolampadius died at Basel. 


Johannes Kessler, who chronicled the Re- 
formation in St. Gallen, mentions Paracelsus 
in his book " Sabbata." A friend of Kessler's 
called Johann Rutiner kept a diary, written in 
choice dog-Latin, from 1529 to 1538, and did 
not disdain to include gossip in its pages. To 
him we owe one of Hohenheim's experiences 
while there. He was regarded as a miracle- 
worker and it was believed that he could heal 
by a wave of his hand. He was asked to exer- 
cise this power on a boy called Caspar Tisch- 
macher, whose hand had been seriously injured. 
Paracelsus operated upon it and took out a small 
bone. This caused considerable swelling and 
was not at all what the incensed father had 
expected, and he summoned Paracelsus before 
the magistrates and the surgeons of the city. 
Naturally Hohenheim paid no heed to this 
absurd summons, so Tischmacher cited him to 
appear before the High Senate, whose court 
granted fourteen days in which to consummate 
the boy's recovery. But although progressing 
favourably the hand was not quite in order 
when the fortnight expired, and the father flew 
again to the magistrates, who refused to listen 
to him, and then to the people's tribune, a man 
called Miiller. Paracelsus had carefully tended 
his patient and knew that the hand was now 
within three days of complete recovery, so, 
humouring the father's superstition, he said 
with great solemnity : " Bind living earth- 


worms upon the hand for one night, and lo ! 
in three days it will be well." 

Riitiner evidently believed in the earthworms, 
for he adds that Paracelsus knew everything 
because he had travelled all over Europe and 
had been a gipsy for five years ! 

Hohenheim left St. Gallen about the end of 
1531, and wandered for many years. Their 
best record has been given by Dr. Julius Hart- 
mann in his " Theophrast von Hohenheim." 
Dr. Hartmann has drawn from Hohenheim's 
own writings and arranged in the order of their 
happening the references to his life and travels 
which he was wont to make in explanation or 
illustration of his subject. When we reflect 
that these writings are most voluminous, that 
they are in old German, something infected by 
old Swiss, that they are not in the first place 
autobiographical and are therefore not chrono- 
logical, we are enabled to form some estimate 
of the debt to Dr. Hartmann incurred by all 
Paracelsian students. He has supplemented 
this labour with minute research into all dis- 
puted or obscure points, and his book ranks 
with those of Dr. Sudhoff as indispensable to all 
less scholarly and less scientific biographers of 
Theophrastus von Hohenheim. 

The five books of the " Paramirum " were 
completed at St. Gallen. The first edition of 
part of these, the " Opus," appeared in 1562, 
twenty-one years after Hohenheim's death. It 


was edited by Adam von Bodenstein. The 
second edition, which comprised all the books, 
appeared in 1575, edited by Toxites and printed 
at Strassburg by Christian Miiller. A third 
edition belongs to Huser's collection of Hohen- 
heim's writings and is a quarto volume of 426 
pages, with a portrait of Paracelsus, somewhat 
roughly carried out, a half-length, the face 
turned slightly to the right, the coat open at 
the neck and showing shirt and frill, a ribbon 
round his neck from which his jewel hangs, 
his right hand holding the round knob of his 
sword-handle, while the left grasps its cross-bar. 
The year given is 1540, so that it represents him 
nine years after he left St. Gallen. There is a 
great difference between this and the oil painting 
of 1529, when his hair was still dark and he 
wore a beard. In the woodcut he is very bald 
with side-locks of grey hair. His face is thin, 
the features are more prominent, the melan- 
choly eyes more sunken. Above the portrait 
is his favourite motto: " Alterius non sit qui 
suus esse potest," and beneath are the words : 
" Effigies Philippi Theophrasti ab Hohenheim : 
suse setatis 47. Omne donum perfectum a Deo 
imperfectum a diabolo." 

This portrait is introduced by Huser into 
each of the ten parts of Hohenheim's " Books 
and Writings." It was taken from an engraving 
by Augustin Hirschvogel, whose monogram AH 
is within the date 1540 below the last motto. 

1589] HUSER'S EDITION 181 

It has been reproduced again and again, often 
altered and provided with other mottoes, but 
its variants can be traced back to Hirsch- 
vogel's engraving. 

Dr. Carl Aberle speaks of this particular wood- 
cut as anonymous, copied from Hirschvogel's 
engraving, but with only one of its four columns. 
Hirschvogel painted a portrait of Paracelsus in 
1538, from which he made his engraving two 
years later, and the wood-cut used by Huser 
is a coarse copy of the engraving. 

The five books of the " Paramirum " occupy 
327 quarto pages in Huser's edition, which was 
published by Peter Perna at Basel in 1589. 
Huser tells that us he searched through Upper 
and Lower Germany, partly in person, partly 
through other people, for the original manu- 
scripts of Hohenheim's writings and collected 
a great number, some of which were already in 
print, others not yet published. Many of them 
had been destroyed by ignorant people. Huser 
gives a list of the scholars and doctors who 
helped him, and this list indicates a great re- 
action in favour of Hohenheim's teaching forty 
years after his death. Other editions either 
complete or partial belong to 1603, 1605, and 
1616-18, the earlier in Latin, published at 
Frankfort and republished at Geneva in 1658. 
The " Opus " was frequently republished at 
Frankfort, Basel, and Cologne in the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries. 


Dr. Franz Strunz has recently given us a new 
edition of the " Paramirum " with helpful notes, 
published by Eugen Diederichs at Jena in 1904. 
This is based on Huser's, but has been com- 
pared with the earlier edition of Adam von 
Bodenstein and is a literal reproduction of the 
original text, except for full printing of the 
abbreviations and occasional modernisation of 
obsolete phrases. In considering the " Para- 
mirum," one of Hohenheim's most important 
works, I have availed myself of Dr Strunz's 

In his preface the editor says : 

"Paracelsus does not let himself be trans- 
lated ; that would destroy the unique and 
ancient timbre of his utterances. The original 
style, unless it is an obstacle to legibility or 
obscures the sense, has been left as much as 
possible unchanged, and this has made it difficult 
to arrange an accurately consistent spelling." 

After giving a list of the numerous editions 
Dr. Strunz introduces the work with these 
words : 

" The 6 Paramirum ' writings constitute one 
of the most celebrated and most characteristic 
of Hohenheim's books. If the ' Book Para- 
granum,' strongly polemical, is a statement 
of the new physical science and medicine, the 
6 Volumen ' and ' Opus Paramirum ' offer us 
almost everything of importance concerning re- 


search, medicine, and philosophy with which 
his mind was continually occupied. These 
thoughts are here expressed in words, some of 
them in full detail, some briefly indicated, 
some again in a comprehensive sketch which 
we find fully worked out in other writings. 
The two ' Paramirum ' books contain the most 
important constituents of Hohenheim's system. 
. . . They exhibit lucidly his own method as 
student of nature, doctor, and philosopher, al- 
though his theological side remains somewhat 
in the background. All comes here to the 
surface : his natural philosophy concerning 
the macrocosm and the microcosm, born of the 
renascence spirit, his solemn sense of the unity 
and universality of God, the world and the 
soul, his lofty self-consciousness, his eager in- 
terest in men and the new individual life, his 
joy in the light of nature, his critical use of ex- 
periences and very specially his systematic and 
comparative research by experiment." 

The " Volumen Paramirum " deals with five 
subjects : diseases ascribed to the action and 
influence of the stars ; diseases which arise 
from poison or foulness in meat and drink, 
an origin which he calls tartarus ; diseases 
arising from nature, some from the stellar 
microcosms, some from the foul elements, 
some from the natural humours, of which there 
are many hundred kinds (a palpable hit at 
Galen's four humours) ; diseases which are set 
in action by the spirits of men, those especially 


of evil disposition, and which are partly magical 
diseases ; and diseases to which men must 
submit through the secret purpose of God. 

In the two books of the " Opus Paramirum," 
the origins of diseases are treated in a more 
positive manner, as derived from the corruption 
of the quicksilver, salt, and sulphur in the micro- 
cosm. The third book treats in detail of 
diseases due to tartaric acid coming through 
food and drink ; the fourth is specially oc- 
cupied with the special function and diseases 
of women ; and the fifth, in five subdivisions, 
handles those diseases which are supernatural 
and come about by the misuse of the imagina- 
tion, by the powers occult in dead bodies and 
relics, and by the powers of signs and words, 
which if they cure at all do so by the power of 
the devil. There is a prologue to each section. 

In order to indicate his matured theories 
and their expression in this book, one to which 
he devoted immense care, some quotations 
from the text must meagrely suffice. The 
difficulty of selection is great. Until Hohenheim's 
works receive in England the scholarly interest 
and appreciation which they have secured for 
the last thirty years in Germany and Austria, 
the exact position which this great man held 
in the development of exact research cannot 
be rightly recognised and our acquaintance 
with the history of medicine must remain 

1531] ENS ASTRALE 185 

Part I of the " Volumen Paramirum " 
explains in eleven short chapters what Para- 
celsus calls the Ens Astrale. From the first 
to the fourth of these he contests the prevailing 
belief that the stars affect men from their birth 
to their death. 

" The stars," he says in the fourth chapter, 
" control nothing in us, suggest nothing, incline 
to nothing, own nothing ; they are free from 
us and we are free from them. But note that 
without the heavenly bodies we cannot live : 
for cold, warmth, and the consummation of 
what we eat and drink comes from them : but 
the human being does not. They are so far 
useful to us and so far do we need them as we 
need warmth and cold, food and drink and air : 
but further they are not in us nor we in them. 
Thus has the Creator designed. Who knows 
what there is in the firmament which can serve 
us ? For neither the clarity of the Sun, nor 
the arts of Mercury, nor the beauty of Venus 
helps us ; but the sunshine helps us, for it makes 
the summer when the fruit ripens and those 
things that nourish us grow. But observe ; 
if a child, which has been born under the luck- 
iest planets and stars, and under those richest 
in good gifts, has in its own character those 
qualities that run counter to those gifts, whose 
blame is it ? It is the fault of the blood, which 
comes by generation. Not the stars, but the 
blood brings that about." 

We may almost conjecture that his astro- 


logical experiments in Esslingen had con- 
vinced him of the futility of horoscopes. 

In the fifth chapter he continues his reason- 
ing : 

" One man excels another in knowledge, in 
wealth or in power. And you ascribe it to the 
stars ; but that we must banish from our minds : 
good fortune comes from ability, and ability 
comes from the spirit. Every man has a special 
spirit according to the character of which he 
has a special talent, and if he exercises that 
talent he has good fortune. Understand that 
this spirit is the Archeus and we will not treat 
of it further lest we wander from our point. 
You say also concerning the varying stature 
of men that so long a time has passed since 
Adam that amongst so many men it is impossible 
that one should resemble another, with the ex- 
ception of twins, and that this is a great miracle. 
And you attribute this to the heavenly bodies 
and to their mysterious powers. You should 
know that God has decreed a special feminine 
entity and that till all types, colours, forms of 
mankind are fulfilled, and these are innumer- 
able, people will be born who will be as the dead 
have been. When the last day comes, then 
will all the types and fashions of men be ful- 
filled : for only then will the point be reached 
when all colours, forms, types, and fashions of 
men are at an end and no new fashion can be 
created. Nor imagine that you can make the 
world older, or any part of it. For when all 
the forms and fashions of mankind have been 

1531] METEORON 187 

fulfilled and no new type can be called into being, 
the age of the world is at an end." 

In the next chapter he continues : 

" You say, and rightly, that if there were no 
air, all things would perish. But the air is 
held in the firmament and if it were not in the 
firmament the firmament would melt away, 
and that we call the Meteoron. And observe 
well that this Meteoron contains all created things 
in heaven and earth and all the elements live 
in it and by it. ... To explain what this 
Meteoron is, note first an illustration. A room 
shut up and locked has an odour which is not 
its own, but which comes from whomsoever 
has been inside. Therefore, whoever goes in- 
side must be sensible of the odour, which is 
not generated by the air but comes from him 
who has been in the room. Now understand 
that we speak of the air in order that we may 
explain the Ens Astrale. You allege that the 
air comes from the movement of the firmament : 
that we do not stand still, but that the wind 
proves itself to be meteoric. The air comes 
from the Most High and was before all created 
things, the first of all : after which the others 
were created. The firmament exists by the air 
as well as all other created things : therefore 
the air does not come from the firmament. For 
the firmament is maintained by the air, as man 
is ; and if the firmament stood still, there would 
still be the air. If the world were to dissolve 
when the firmament stood still, it would be 
because the firmament had no air and because 


the air had melted away, and then all mankind 
and all the elements must pass away, for all 
are maintained by the air : that is Meteoron 
magnum. This air may become poisoned and 
changed and men breathe it in, and since 
man's life dwells in it, so must his body, which 
seizes on what is in Meteoron magnum and 
taints itself therewith. Just like the air in 
the room, there is something which taints the 
Meteoron, remains in it and proceeds from it." 

In the eighth chapter Paracelsus develops 
from the foregoing his theory of the maladies 
which are due to the heavenly bodies. 

" The stars," he says, " have their own 
nature and properties just as men have upon 
the earth. They change within themselves : 
are sometimes better, sometimes worse, some- 
times sweeter, sometimes sourer, and so on. 
When they are good in themselves no evil 
comes from them ; but infection proceeds from 
them when they are evil. Now observe that 
the stars surround the whole world just as its 
shell does an egg : the air comes through the 
shell and goes straight to the earth. Then 
observe that those stars which are poisonous 
taint the air with their poison, so that where 
the poisoned air comes, at that place maladies 
break out according to the property of the star : 
the whole air of the world is not poisoned, only 
a part of it according to the property of the star. 
It is the same with the beneficent properties 
of the stars : that too is Ens Astrale : the vapour, 


exhalation, exudation of the stars mingle with 
the air. For thence come cold, warmth, drought, 
moisture, and such like according to their 
properties. Observe that the stars themselves 
do not act : they only infect through their 
exhalations that part of the Meteoron by which 
we are poisoned and enfeebled. And in this 
manner the Ens A sir ale alters our body for 
good or evil. A man whose blood is hostile 
to such exhalations becomes ill ; but one whose 
nature is not hostile is not hurt. He too who 
is finely fortified against such evils suffers nothing, 
because he overcomes the poison by the vitality 
of his blood, or by medicine which combats 
the evil vapours from above. Observe then that 
all created things are opposed to men, and men 
are opposed to them : all may hurt men and 
yet men can do nothing to them." 

In the ninth chapter he explains this theory 
more fully : 

" A fish-pond which has its right Meteoron 
is full of fish ; but if the cold becomes too great 
it freezes and the fish die, because the Meteoron 
is opposed to the nature of water. But this 
cold comes not from the Meteoron, but from 
the heavenly bodies whose property it is. The 
heat of the sun makes the water too warm and 
the fish die on this account also. Certain 
heavenly bodies effect these two things and 
others make the Meteoron acid, bitter, sweet, 
sharp, arsenical and so on, a hundred various 
flavours. Every great change in the Meteoron 


changes the body, and so note how the 
stars contaminate the Meteoron, so that we 
fall ill and die of natural exhalations. No 
doctor need wonder at this, for there is as much 
poison in the stars as on the earth. And he 
must remember that there is no disease without 
a poison. For poison is the beginning of every 
disease and through the poison all diseases, 
whether in the body or occasioned by wound, 
become disclosed. You will discover if you 
recognise this, that more than fifty diseases, 
and fifty more besides not one of which is like 
another, are all due to arsenic : still more are 
due to salt, still more to mercury, still more 
to red arsenic and sulphur. We point this out 
to you to make you realise that you may seek 
in vain for the special cause of one particular 
illness, so long as one substance gives rise to so 
many : find out the substance and you will 
then find out the special cause. And hold fast 
the rule that you must know the substance 
which has caused the malady rather than the 
apparent cause, as practice will prove." 

In the tenth and eleventh chapters Paracelsus 
continues to develop his theory of the Entia 
Astralia and their influences on the earth and 
on water and especially on men, and concludes : 

" Observe that some of the Entia Astralia 
poison the blood only such is red arsenic ; 
some hurt only the head, as mercurial poisons ; 
some only the bones and blood vessels, as salts ; 
some are of such a nature that they produce 


dropsy and tumours, as orpiment or flowers of 
arsenic ; some produce fevers, as the bitter 
poisons. That you may fully understand this 
we will show you how maladies are divided. 
Observe that those Entia which go into the body 
and there encounter the Liquorem Vitce produce 
maladies in the body : others produce sores 
and wounds and are those which encounter 
Virtutem Expulsivam. All theory is contained 
in these two." 

The second part of the " Volumen " deals with 
the more obvious origins of diseases, and par- 
ticularly with the dangers from food and drink. 
He brings forward his famous simile of the al- 
chemist placed by God in each of His creatures, 
whose business it is to separate the evil from 
the good in their nourishment. 

" That alchemist is clever at his business, 
and just as a prince knows how to employ the 
best qualities of his servant and to leave alone 
the others, so the alchemist uses the good quali- 
ties of our food for our nourishment and expels 
those things that would harm us. The ox 
eats grass, man eats the ox. Every creature 
has its own food. The peacock eats snakes 
and lizards, animals complete in themselves, 
but not good for food except to the peacock. 
So each man needs his own food and his al- 
chemist to separate the evil from the good. 
A pig will eat what men throw away and that 
proves that the alchemist in the pig needs to 
be far more careful than he needs to be in men. 


The alchemist takes the good and changes it 
into a tincture which he sends through the body 
to nourish the flesh and all that is in the body. 
This alchemist dwells in the stomach, where 
he works and cooks. The man eats a piece 
of flesh in which is both bad and good. When 
the flesh reaches the stomach there is the al- 
chemist who divides it. What does not belong 
to health he casts away to its own place, but 
sends the good wherever it is needed. This 
is the Creator's decree : thus is the body main- 
tained that nothing poisonous shall affect it. 

" But there is an Essentia and a Venenum in 
everything needed by man : the Essentia sup- 
ports him, the Venenum is the origin of many 
illnesses. For sometimes the alchemist does 
his work imperfectly and does not divide the 
bad from the good thoroughly and so decay 
arises in the mixed good and bad and there is 
indigestion. All maladies from the Ens Veneni 
arise from defective digestion, and this proves 
that the alchemist is not doing his work thor- 
oughly. Therefore decay ensues, and that is 
the mother of all such maladies, for it poisons 
the body. Pure water can be tinged to any 
colour and the body is like that water and takes 
the colour of decay, and there is no colour of 
decay which has not its origin in poison. There 
is either local decay or decay of the organs 
of expulsion. For decay hurts what is good 
and generates disease. Each poison has its 
own way out of the body : sulphur through the 
nose, arsenic through the ears, and every 
other poison is expelled through its own organ. 

1531] DE ENTE DEI 193 

And if they are not expelled then they become 
the source of diseases. But the instruments 
of the alchemist may become diseased without 
his being able to hinder the change, through 
the air and through the mouth, for the air 
is full of poison, and this poison may enter the 
body and bring about disease, destroying the 
members and the instruments with which the 
alchemist works so that he is powerless." 

The fifth part of the " Volumen Paramirum," 
De Ente Dei, consists of eight chapters especially 
addressed to those who believe in God and 
who realise that all maladies come from God, 
that though some originate in the conditions of 
nature, God is the Creator of nature and that 
He Himself sends certain maladies in chastise- 

" God gives health and sickness and He gives 
the medicine to heal our sickness. No doctor 
knows the end of our sickness, for God holds 
that in His hand. For every sickness is pur- 
gatorial, therefore no doctor can heal : it is 
essential that God should end the chastisement 
and that the doctor should be one who works 
in the consciousness of predestined purgatorial 

He points out that God sends the doctor, who 
is powerless without Him, and he appeals to 
doctors to be Christians and like to Christ. 

" God will do nothing without men. If He 


works a miracle, He does it through men : 
this He does through the doctor. But since 
there are two kinds of doctors, those who heal 
miraculously and those who heal through medi- 
cine, understand before all things that he who 
believes works miracles. But because faith is 
not strong in all, and yet the hour of chastise- 
ment comes to an end, the physician accom- 
plishes that which God would have done mirac- 
ulously had there been faith in the sick man." 

Paracelsus concludes the " Volumen Para- 
mirum " with an earnest injunction to physicians 
to choose the true art of medicine and not 
fantasy : 

" For the true art is reason, wisdom, and sense, 
and sets in order the truth which experience 
has won ; but those who hold to fantasy have 
no ground to go upon : only formulas that 
are past and done with, as you know well 



Tis in the advance of individual minds 

That the slow crowd should ground their expectation 

Eventually to follow. 

THE " Opus Paramirum " consists of two books, 
which treat of the three primary substances, 
salt, sulphur, and mercury, as origin and cause 
of disease. Liber Primus has eight chapters, 
and is prefaced by an appeal to Dr. Joachim 
von Watt to forsake the errors of the scholastic 
school of medicine and as a lover of truth to 
adhere to the truth. 

" That I may behold such a decision in thee," 
says Paracelsus, " and may not spend my time 
in St. Gallen in vain, I am constrained to arouse 
thy interest in all knowledge of nature and crea- 
tion to accurate discernment, that we may 
both be remembered amongst the many who 
are in medicine. For since thou art a supporter 
of medicine and that by no means the least, 
thou wilt discover in accepting the truth and 
in furthering it many things which concern 
the eternal : nor wilt thou the less become a 
promoter of truth in matters concerning the body 
wherein the eternal dwells." 



Both books develop Hohenheim's theory of 
the ' Three Principles," a theory which he 
carried into the intellectual and spiritual as 
well as into every part of the material world 
of nature and of man, of the macrocosm and the 

4 These three," he writes, " form man and 
are man and he is them, receiving from them 
and in them all that is good and all that is 
evil for the physical body. So that the physician 
must know these three and must understand 
their combinations, their maintenance, and their 
analysis. For in these three lie all health and 
all sickness, whether whole or partial. In them 
therefore will be discovered the measure of 
health and the measure of disease : for the 
physician must not overlook the weight, number, 
and measure of disease. For according to 
these he can estimate the source whence it 
derives, and it is of great importance to under- 
stand this well before going further. Death 
also is due to these three, because if life be with- 
drawn from the primary substances in whose 
union life and man exist, man must die. 

" From these primary substances therefore 
proceed all cause, origin, and knowledge of 
disease, their symptoms, development, and 
specific properties and all that is essential 
for a doctor to know. . . . God has so fashioned 
medicine that it is not consumed by fire : He 
has also so fashioned the physician that he 
is born from fire. For the physician is made 

1531] THE PHYSICIAN 197 

by medicine and not by himself ; therefore 
must he study all nature, and nature is the 
world with all that it contains. Arid what nature 
teaches him that must he seek to understand. 
But let him seek nothing in his own knowledge, 
but in nature's light let him discover the teaching 
locked up in her storehouse. When the doctor 
finds nature open and unconcealed before him, 
then will the origin of health and sickness be 
unobscured. For since he is a doctor by and 
from medicine and not without medicine, and 
since medicine is older than he, he is out of 
medicine and not medicine out of him. Let 
him search and learn from what has made him 
and not from himself." 

Paracelsus points out that the finest mind 
comes into the world empty. It may be su- 
premely fitted to hold the treasures of learning, 
just as a well-made casket is fitted to hold the 
treasure which a man may win to fill it. So 
the prceclarium ingenium is empty as the casket 
until the man who desires to be a physician 
fills it with the fruits of his research, with his 
skill and with medical knowledge. What he 
has acquired and experienced he keeps therein 
and makes use of when it is required. He 
illustrates this from the crafts of glass-making, 
carpentering, and house-building. 

" The fine intelligence is the casket of medi- 
cine, but the treasure to be held in it comes out 
of the fire of experience, as does glass out of 


the fire in which it is made. The test of the 
doctor is that he has learnt his knowledge and 
skill in the fire of experience." 

He gives to experience, or experiment, the 
symbolic name of Vulcan, no god, but a work- 
man, who brings what God has fashioned into 
its completion. Experimental science is the 
workshop of Vulcan, the forge at whose fire 
all such perfecting takes place. 

" There are two kinds of knowledge," he 
says, " that of experience and that of our own 
cleverness. The knowledge of experience is 
twofold : one kind is the foundation and teacher 
of the physician ; the other is his misleading 
and error. He receives the first from the fire 
when he plies Vulcan's tools in transmuting, 
forging, reducing, solving, perfecting with all 
the processing pertaining to such work. And 
it is by such experimenting that the three 
substances are discovered, all that is contained 
in nature, their kind, character, and properties. 
The other kind of knowledge is but lumber 
without experiment : it may once prove right 
but not invariably, and it does not do to build 
upon such a foundation. Error is built upon 
it, error glossed over with sophistries. . . . For 
we cannot be taught medicine by hearsay or 
by reading, but by learning. Nature in the fire 
of experiment shall be our teacher. . . . We 
can no longer believe in the four humours 
existing in men, although it is a matter of faith : 
medicine does not belong to faith, but to sight. 


The sickness and health of the soul belong to 
faith : all the conditions of the body are visible. 
It is because of these errors and this false faith 
that not every one who calls Lord ! Lord ! is 

In the chapters which follow, Paracelsus 
explains the three primary substances and the 
diseases arising from each with frequent refer- 
ence to Galen's theory of the Four Humours, 
whose fallacy he exposes as one kept in no 
casket of true medicine, but proceeding from 
an earthly and unauthentic source. Out of 
his own theory he develops the homoeopathic 
system of like to like. 

" What is the taste other than a need in 
the anatomy to which nothing is important 
except to reach its own like ? It follows that 
as this gustus is distributed to every member in 
the body, each desires its own like, the sweet 
desires the sweet, the bitter desires the bitter, 
each in its degree and measure, as those held 
by the plants sweet, sour, and bitter. Shall 
the liver seek medicine in manna, honey, sugar, 
or in the polypody fern ? No, for like seeks 
its like. Nor in the order of anatomy shall 
cold be a cure for heat, or heat for cold. It 
would be a wild disorder did we seek our cure 
in contraries. A child asks his father for bread 
and he does not give him a snake. God has 
created us and He gives us what we ask, not 
snakes ; so it would be bad doctoring to give 
bitters where sugar is required. The gall must 


have what it asks, and the heart too, and the 
liver. It is a fundamental pillar upon which 
the physician should rest to give to each part 
of the anatomy the special thing that accords 
with it. For the bread which the child eats 
has an anatomy similar to his own, and the 
child eats as it were his own body : therefore 
each sickness in the anatomy must have its 
own accordant medicine. He who does not 
understand the anatomy finds it difficult to 
act if he be honest and simple ; but it is worse 
with those whose honour is small and whom 
shame and crime do not trouble. They are the 
foes of the light of nature. . . . What blind 
man asks bread from God and receives poison ? 
If thou art experienced and grounded in anatomy 
thou wilt not give a stone for bread. For know 
that thou art the father rather than the doctor 
of thy patients : therefore feed them as a 
father does his child, and as a father must 
support his child according to his need and must 
give him the food which becomes himself, so 
must the doctor care for his patients." 

Hohenheim ends the fifth chapter with an 
invective against the potions and drugs in 
common use and gives the warrant of Christ's 
own word for the employment of oil and wine 
in wounds. 

" Christ who is the Truth has given us no 
false remedy but one that is compatible and 
arcane. For far be it from us to say that Christ 
knew not the simplicia of nature. Therefore 


oil and wine must be competent, else there 
is no foundation in medicine. . . . Let it be 
manifest to you that a grain of wheat yields no 
fruit unless it be cast into the ground and die 
there : thus the wound is the earth and the oil 
and wine the grain." 

The word " anatomy " meant to Paracelsus 
something which differed from its modern ap- 
plication. There were anatomists in his time : 
he had seen them at Montpellier, Paris, Salerno, 
and in Germany, students of the dead bodies 
of criminals who had been hanged, but he 
thought little of their work and its results. To 
him only the,- living body revealed the living 
processes, the dead body was too rapidly trans- 
muted to give authentic facts. But not until 
Paracelsus was dead did the term " anatomy " 
receive its modern value, dating from the dis- 
coveries of Andreas Vesalius, who boldly dis- 
sected the human body, about 1545. Hohen- 
heim gives his own appraisal of anatomy in 
the sixth chapter of the " Opus Paramirum." 

" There are three anatomies which should be 
made in man : first Localis, which tells us form, 
proportions, substance of a man and all that 
pertains to him ; the second shows the living 
sulphur, the flowing mercury, the sharp salt 
in each member ; and the third instructs us 
how a new anatomy, that of death, comes in, 
Mortis Anatomia, and in what manner and 
likeness he comes. For the light of nature shows 


that death comes in as many forms as there are 
species from the elements : so many kinds of 
corruption so many kinds of death, and as each 
corruption gives birth to another, it requires 
anatomy : it comes in many forms until one 
after another we all die and are consumed 
through corruption. But beyond all these ana- 
tomies, there is also a uniform science in the 
anatomy of medicine, and beyond them all are 
firmament, earth, water, and air : thither ana- 
tomy is brought into new action and the firma- 
ment and all the stars appear in it. For Saturn 
must give his Saturnum, Mars his Martem, and 
until these are discovered, the science of medi- 
cine is not fully revealed. For as the tree grows 
out of the seed, so must all that seems now 
invisible grow into new life, for it is there, and 
it must come to pass that it shall be visible. 
For the light of nature is a light to make men 
see and it is neither dark nor dim : and it must 
come to pass that we shall use our eyes in that 
light to see those things that we require to see. 
They will not be otherwise than they are now ; 
but we must be otherwise able to see them, and 
then the light of nature will give vision to the 
very peasant." 

My old friend Lady Huggins writes : 

" The fulfilment of this remarkable predic- 
tion may be considered to have begun with 
Sir Isaac Newton's discovery of the decomposi- 
tion of light by the prism, his experiments 
being included in his treatise on ' Opticks ' pre- 


sented to the Royal Society in 1675. The 
dark lines which Newton failed to see in the 
solar spectrum were first described by Wollaston 
in 1792 ; and about 1815 Fraunhofer made a 
great advance and mapped some six hundred 
of them. Later on the way was prepared, 
more or less, by Foucault, Balfour, Stewart, 
and Angstrom ; and prophetic guesses were 
made by Stokes and Lord Kelvin. 

" But it was Kirchhof and Bunsen at Heidel- 
berg in 1859 who first proved beyond question 
that the dark lines in the solar spectrum are 
produced by the absorption of the vapours 
of the same substances, which when suitably 
heated give out corresponding bright lines ; 
and further that many of the solar absorbing 
vapours are those of substances found upon 
the earth. These epoch-making experiments 
mark the birth of the science of Spectrum Ana- 

" The extension of spectrum analysis to the 
stars and other heavenly bodies soon followed. 
The effective founders of stellar spectroscopy, 
1862, being, in England, Sir William Huggins, 
with whom was associated at first Professor 
W. A. Miller ; and in Italy Padre Secchi. 
The chief work of Secchi was a survey of some 
four thousand stars and their distribution into 
four classes or types a most useful work. 

" The work of Huggins and Miller was of a 
more searching and far-reaching character, and 
consisted of, first, an elaborate mapping in 
wave-lengths of the spectra of the chemical 
elements ; and second, of the mapping of a large 


number of stellar spectra, and their comparison 
with chemical spectra. The work was the birth 
of Astrophysics. 

' The spectra of the planets were early in- 
vestigated by Huggins ; and later by Vogel. 
Mars was shown to have an atmosphere very 
similar to our own ; the spectrum of Saturn 
has some special peculiarities, although also 
showing many of the Fraunhofer lines. 

' l In a later and novel astrophysical research, 
begun in 1876, into the ultra-violet region of 
the spectrum, possible only through photography, 
the eye being incompetent to see beyond 
certain wave-lengths, at each end of the spec- 
trum, Sir William and Lady Huggins not only 
discovered further proofs of the presence in 
the stars of the chemical elements as we know 
them, or can modify them, but also discovered 
facts relating to hydrogen which were then 
unknown to terrestrial chemistry. Some years 
later these new facts were verified in his labora- 
tory by Cornu." 

These scientific data have been sent to me 
expressly to illustrate Hohenheim's marvellous 
inductive intuition. The " Light of Nature " 
truly made him see, neither darkly nor dimly. 

Paracelsus occupies the remainder of this 
celebrated chapter by condemning names given 
to diseases on the basis of a single symptom, 
instead of from either their origin, substance, 
and course, or their treatment, and he closes 
with an appeal to members of the medical 


and theological professions to open their eyes 
and see the wonderful works of God in all that 
concerns the body and all that concerns the 

" For the two professions cannot be separated 
one from the other : the body is the dwelling 
place of the soul, therefore the one depends upon 
the other and the one reveals the other." 

The final chapters of this book relate to the 
marvellous hidden powers by which the de- 
velopment of all living creatures is achieved 
according to the type of each : 

" A seed contains its tree, but only in the 
ground can it grow. The earth is the craftsman 
who makes the invisible visible. . . . All our 
nourishment becomes ourselves : we eat our- 
selves into being, and so also in sickness, with 
this difference, that the medicine must be ac- 
cording to the character of the sickness. All 
that is worn out in health is restored to each 
member by and in itself. Do not be astonished 
at this : a tree which stands in the field would 
not be a tree had it no nourishment. What 
is nourishment ? It is not mere feeding or 
stuffing, but it is restoration of the form. What 
is hunger ? It is a reminder of future death 
in the waste of the members. For the form 
is carved by God Himself in the mother's body. 
This carving abides in the form of each type. 
But it wastes and dies without addition from 
without. He who does not eat does not grow, 


he who does not eat does not last. Therefore 
he who grows grows by nourishment, and the 
shaper is with him to restore the form, and 
without it he cannot exist : whence it follows 
that the nourishment of each carven type 
has the form within itself in which it makes to 
grow and restores. Rain has the tree in itself 
and so has the earth-sap : rain is its drink, 
liquor terrce its food by which the tree grows. 
What is it that grows ? What the tree absorbs 
from rain and earth-sap becomes wood and bark : 
the shaper is in the seed, wood and bark are in 
the liquor terrce and the rain : the craftsman in 
the seed can make wood out of these two things. 
And it is the same with plants : the seed has 
the beginning in which is the form and the crafts- 
man, the type and property : if it is to come 
further, the rain, dew, and liquor terrce must 
develop the plant, for in these are the stalks, 
leaves, flowers, and so on. 

" There must therefore be an outward form 
in all nourishment for growth : and if we do 
not receive it we do not grow up, but die in 
the neglected form. And if we are grown 
up, we must preserve our form lest it waste 
away. For we have in us what resembles fire : 
which consumes our form away. If we did 
not supply and support the form of our body, it 
would die neglected. Therefore what we eat 
becomes ourselves, so that we do not die through 
consuming of the form : in this way we eat 
our fingers, our body, blood, flesh, foot, brain, 
heart, et cetera. For every bite we take con- 
tains in itself all our members, all that is in- 

1531] NOURISHMENT 207 

eluded in the whole man, all of which he is 
constituted. . . . When summer is at hand, 
the trees become hungry because they would 
then put out leaves, flowers, and fruit. They 
have not got these within themselves else would 
trees that are cut down put forth leaves as well 
as those which stand in the ground. They 
stand in the earth whence they receive these 
things into their own form, where the crafts- 
man shapes them according to the kind of each : 
that is his contribution. . . . Know therefore 
that in order to preserve their form and type 
from being consumed, all living things become 
hungry and thirsty. . . . 

" There are two men, visible and invisible : 
that which is visible is two-fold, the body and 
soul ; that which is invisible is single and of the 
body, as an image carved out of wood in which 
no body was at first discerned. This is the 
nourishment, which once in the body goes into 
all its members : it does not remain in one 
part, but is richly used ; for the great Artist 
carves it, He who makes man, that is, He dis- 
tributes to the members. Now we know that 
we eat ourselves : every tree and every creature 
that lives, and we must now learn further what 
follows from this concerning medicine. . . . We 
do not eat bone, blood vessels, ligaments, and 
rarely brain, heart, and suet, therefore bone does 
not make bone, nor brain brain, but every 
bite contains all these. If the bone is invisible 
it is none the less there. Bread is blood, but 
who sees it ? it is also fat, who sees it ? ... 
For the master-craftsman in the stomach is 


good. He can make iron out of sulphur, which 
is sulphur : he is there daily and shapes the man 
according to his form. He can make diamonds 
out of salt, and gold out of mercury : but he 
is more anxious concerning men than concerning 
things, so he labours at him in all that is neces- 
sary : bring him the material, let him divide 
and shape it as it should be ; he knows the 
measure, weight, number, proportion, length 
and all. 

" Know then that every creature is two-fold, 
one out of the seed, the other out of the nourish- 

ent : he has death within himself and must 
maintain himself against it." 

"Paracelsus dwells further upon this and points 
out that although the body which a man receives 
at first is given him in justice, that with which 
he is maintained is given him in mercy : 

" He receives his first nourishment from his 
mother through mother-love, and then he re- 
ceives it by the mercy of God, to whom his 
daily petition rises : ' Give us this day our 
daily bread,' which also means c Give us this 
day our daily body.' . . . It is for this that Christ 
taught us to pray, just as if He had said : ' The 
body received from your mother is not suffi- 
cient : it might have died to-day, yesterday, 
or long ago.' Bread is now and henceforth 
your body : you live no longer by the body of 
justice, but by the body of mercy : therefore 
pray your heavenly Father for your daily 
bread, that is, for your daily body which is 

1531] THE BODY OF MERCY 209 

the body of mercy : we eat ourselves daily 
not in justice but in mercy and prayer." 

The eighth chapter expands this conception 
of our food and its daily renewal and counsels 
that moderation in eating which is involved in 
the daily petition : not more than we need 
day by day. "In this manner we are renewed. 
But as we use manure to grow our bread, disease 
may come from it, and if we eat too much, many 
diseases will ensue which would have not come 
had we observed Christ's commandment and 
His petition. For such maladies the physician 
is provided, for God is merciful and forgives 
our trespasses. The physician is provided to 
protect the body in which the soul dwells. 
Therefore the office of physician is a high one 
and not so easy as many imagine. For just as 
Christ commissioned the apostles : ' Go hence, 
cleanse the lepers, make straight the crooked, 
give sight to the blind,' so the physician is 
as much concerned in these things as the 
apostles. He therefore who does not know 
how to cleanse leprosy does not understand 
the power of medicine : he who cannot make 
straight the crooked is no doctor. For God 
has not appointed the doctor only for colds, 
headaches, abscesses, and toothache, but also 
for leprosy, epilepsy, and the like without ex- 
ception. All healing substances are in the earth; 
they grow there, but the men are not there who 
should gather them : were the right men there 
unperverted by lying sophistry, we should be 
able to cleanse the lepers and make the blind 


to see. For the sophistical high fashion leaves 
the mysteries of nature unrevealed with all 
their hidden virtues. Such doctors justify their 
ignorance by saying : ' Such and such a disease 
is incurable. 5 By which they do not only 
expose their folly, but also their mendacity. 
For God has permitted no disease to come whose 
cure He has not provided. Have ye forgotten 
that God imparts to us daily our day's body, 
and shall He not impart to us the means to 
heal our diseases, each at its appointed hour ? " 

This chapter ends with the reminder that 
nature is mysterious, hidden, that she works 
in a mysterious way, that this way is not by 
magic, sorcery, or by aid of the devil, but that 
it is occult so that men may inquire into it, 
for there are many things in nature which we 
do not yet know, much science, knowledge, 

" For these things were not only concealed 
in the apple forbidden to Adam, but were 
concealed also in many other things which it 
might have been better not to discover. For 
God has forbidden some things to make known 
their power. Poisons are on the earth and in 
them is death, and other things are on the 
earth in whom is life. There is that which makes 
sickness and there is also that which makes 
health. But there is little searching out of 
such things, little trouble taken to gain knowledge. 
The profession is ruined by symptom-seeking : 


that suffices to produce the fee and they desire 
only that. Since so little suffices, why should 
they exert themselves ? The penny is what 
they seek." 

The second book of the " Opus Paramirum " 
consists, like the first, of eight chapters, which 
treat in detail of the three primary substances. 
In the first, Paracelsus shows that although a 
grain of corn seems to be one substance, it is 
in reality three, and in the same way the human 
body consists of three substances so combined 
as to form a unity. 

" The body," he says, " is developed from 
sulphur, that is, the whole body is one sulphur, 
and that a subtle sulphur which burns and des- 
troys invisibly. Blood is one sulphur, flesh is 
another, the parts of the head another, the 
marrow another, and so on ; and this sulphur 
is volatile. But the different bones are also 
sulphur, only their sulphur is fixed : in scientific 
analysis each sulphur can be distinguished. 
But the stiffening together of the body comes 
from salt : without the salt no part of the body 
could be grasped ; for from salt the diamond 
receives its hard texture, the lead its soft tex- 
ture, alabaster its soft texture, and so on. All 
stiffening or coagulation is from salt. There is 
therefore one salt in the bones, another in the 
blood, another in the flesh, another in the brain, 
and so on. For as many as there are sulphurs 
there are also salts. The third substance of 
the body is mercury, which is a fluid. All parts 


of the body have their own fluid : thus the 
blood has one, the flesh has another, the bones, 
the marrow, each has its own fluid which is 
mercury. So that mercury has as many forms 
as sulphur and salt. But since man must have 
a complete form, its various parts must coagulate 
and stiffen and must have fluid : the three form 
and unite one body. It is one body but of 
three substances. 

" Sulphur burns, it is only a sulphur ; salt 
is an alkali, for it is fixed ; mercury is a vapour 
or smoke, for it does not burn, but dissolves 
in fire. Know then that all dissolution, cor- 
ruption, arises from these three." 

Paracelsus then brings his system into the 
consideration of disease, its varieties, features, 
conditions, complexion, development, and cure. 

The second chapter is given to medicines in 
the three substances and their specific uses. 
How cosmic is his view may be gathered from 
the following paragraph : 

" The three substances are in the four ele- 
ments, or mothers of all things ; for out of the 
elements proceed all things : from earth come 
plants, trees and all their varieties ; from water, 
metals, stones, and all minerals ; from the air, 
dew and manna ; from fire, thunder, flashes 
of light, snow, and hail. And when the micro- 
cosm is broken up and destroyed, part becomes 
earth, and so wonderful that in brief time it 
bears the fruits whose seed has been sown therein, 
and this the doctor should know. Out of the 


broken body, too, comes the other element of 
water ; and as water is the mother of the 
minerals, the alchemist can compound rubies 
out of it. And the dissolution too gives the 
third element, fire, from which hail can be 
drawn. And air too ascends with the rising 
of the breath, just as dew forms inside a closed 
glass. There is another transmutation after 
these, and it yields every kind of sulphur, salt, 
and mercury. How necessary is it therefore 
to make visible the microcosmic world, for it 
contains much that is for a man's health, his 
water of life, his arcanum, his balsam, his golden 
drink and the like. All these things are in the 
microcosm ; as they are in the outer world, 
just so are they in the inner world." 

He uses the terms of ideal alchemy to signify 
all healing powers resident in the body of man, 
as they are resident in the body of nature. 
There follows a passage of great significance, 
one of which the medical practitioners of his 
time were in dire need and whose value it took 
centuries to prove : 

" Therefore man is his own doctor ; for as 
he helps nature she gives him what he needs, 
and gives him his herbal garden according to 
the requirements of his anatomy. If we con- 
sider and observe all things fundamentally we 
discover that in ourselves is our physician and 
in our own nature are all things that we need. 
Take our wounds : what is needed for the 
healing of wounds ? Nothing except that the 


flesh should grow from within outwards, not 
from the outside inwards. Therefore the treat- 
ment of wounds is a defensive treatment, that 
no contingency from without may hinder our 
nature in her working. In this way our nature 
heals itself and levels and fills up itself, as 
surgery teaches the experienced surgeon. For 
the mumia is the man himself, the mumia is 
the balsam which heals the wound : mastic, 
gums, glaze will not give a morsel of flesh ; 
but the physician's province is to protect the 
working of nature so as to assist it." 

Hohenheim's use of the word mumia to signify 
the power of nature in the body, the healing 
force within, must not be confounded with 
the practice of that time to add a shred of dried 
mummy, or of mummy-cloth, to potions ad- 
ministered to the sick, a practice to which 
Browning alludes in the lines which he puts 
in Hohenheim's mouth when, in his poem, 
Festus meets him at Colmar : 

And strew faint sweetness from some old 
Egyptian's fine worm-eaten shroud 
Which breaks to dust when once unrolled. 

This splendid reform in surgery is further 
explained in a later work, his " Greater Sur- 
gery," written in 1536, but its discovery belongs 
to the years spent in the Dutch, Danish, and 
Italian wars. Ambroise Pare, who in 1531 
must have been about twenty years old, was 
the first great surgeon to adopt this rational 


treatment, and he acknowledged his debt to 
Paracelsus in the earliest, incomplete edition 
of his works, an acknowledgment endorsed by 
Dr. Maignan in 1840, when Fare's complete 
works were republished under his editorship. 

" The power of medicine," continues Para- 
celsus, "is to be understood in two ways, in 
the great world and in man. One way is pro- 
tective, the other curative. If we protect 
nature she uses her own science, for without 
science she would not succeed. But when 
doctors require to use their science, then are 
they the healers." 

Next follows the form in which he appre- 
hended the famous Renascence conception of 
the macrocosm and the microcosm, to which we 
owe the initial steps leading to the liberation 
of physics from metaphysics. 

" Since man derives from limbo and limbo 
is the whole world, it follows that each several 
thing in one finds its like in the other. For 
were man not made out of the whole in every 
part of the whole, he could not be the microcosm, 
the little world, nor would he be capable of 
attracting to himself all that is in the great 
world. But as he is made out of the whole, 
all that he eats out of the great world is part 
of himself : for he must be maintained by that 
of which he is made. For as a son is born from 
his father and no one helps the son so naturally 


as the father, in the same way the curative 
members of the outer world help the members 
of the inner world. For the great world has 
all human proportions, divisions, parts, members, 
as man has ; and man receives these in food 
and medicine. These parts are separated one 
from another for the sake of the whole and its 
form. In science their general body is the 
Physicum Corpus. So man's body receives the 
body of the world, as a son his father's blood ; 
for these are one blood and one body separated 
only by the soul, but in science without separa- 
tion. It follows then that in natural philo- 
sophy heaven and earth, air and water are a man ; 
and man is a world with heaven, earth, air, and 
water, just as in science. Saturn receives his 
Saturnian microcosm from the heavens ; and 
Jupiter receives the Jovian microcosm from the 
heavens ; balm receives its microcosm of balm 
from the earth ; the gilly-flower receives its 
microcosm of gilly-flower from the earth ; and 
the minerals take each its microcosm from water ; 
and the dew and manna from the air ; and they 
are all in union ; therefore heaven, earth, air, 
and water are one substance, not four, nor two, 
nor three, but one : where they are not in union, 
the substance has been destroyed or broken up. 
" We must understand therefore that when 
we administer medicine, we administer the 
whole world : that is, all the virtue of heaven, 
earth, air, and water. Because if there is sick- 
ness in the body, all the healthy members must 
fight against it, not only one, but all. For 
one sickness can be death to them all : note 


how nature struggles against sickness with all 
her power. Therefore your medicine must con- 
tain the whole firmament of both upper and 
lower spheres. Think with what energy nature 
strives against death when she takes heaven 
and earth with all their powers to help her. 
So too must the soul fight against the devil 
with all her might. . . . Nature has a horror of 
cruel and bitter death whom our eyes cannot 
see, nor our hands clutch. But nature sees 
and knows and clutches him : therefore she 
employs the powers of heaven and earth against 
the terrible one, for terrible he is and monstrous, 
hideous and harsh. So He who made him found 
him, Christ on the Mount of Olives, who sweated 
blood and prayed His Father to remove him 
from Him : it is but reasonable therefore that 
nature should abhor him. For the better death 
is known, the greater is the value of medicine, 
a refuge which the wise seek. ' 

In the third chapter Paracelsus still descants 
upon death, its powers and its limitations ; but 
in the fourth he returns to the three primary 
substances and the diseases originated by their 
corruption. He notes among the diseases at- 
tributable to mercury gout, mania, frenzy, 

'" " "* i i ~ """ 

pustules, syphilis, leprosy and the like. In the 
fifth chapter, dealing^with^salt and its varieties, 
he attributes to their corruption the different 
diseases of the skin,_as ^^J^^^>J^chm^ marige 9 
eczema. The sixth chapter explains the action 
of sulphur in the four elements as the origin of 


the elemental diseases, which he classifies as 
cold, hot, dry, and moist. 

^The seventh chapter concerns diseases which 
jay these__and otherjyeviouslv 


^explained conditions. jjfuch_diseases, he says, 
are of two kinds, those which are dormant in 
the seed and those which arise from_^pecific 
jnfluences ; 

" There are influences which cause sweating, 
purgation, heat and the like and which must be 
reckoned with, for they are specific maladies : 
they do not spring from visible causes, but are 
innate and of such a nature that one man has 
a tendency to sweat, another to purgation, 
another to this or that. For know that from 
the spermata far more births take place than 
are realised : the camphor and other plants 
demonstrate that, and from the seed are born 
diseases of the bladder and of the kidneys. 
Such too is tartar (acidity), which forms stone. 
. . . What is_ hereditary we cannot eradicate, 
v for the seed must produce all that is dormant 

within it. But it is not necessarily hereditary 
to b e born blind ; ^and although a man may 
be born blind ? sight mavjpe in him although 
not properly developed. If a man has six 
fingers on one hand and four on the other, 
or if they are not in their right places, nothing 
can be done for him, because the defect is in 
the substance of the body. But no experienced 
doctor can say that the blind man may not be 
helped, .for nature^ js^^great^ and wonderf u 1 , 
and if sight is within him it may be produced, 


,fpr sight is an ether tjiat__|ias no body and it 

may he guided to its own place, from which 
,the injury has removed it. Innate things are 
like the hardness of iron and the colour of chalk, 
and must be accepted as they happen. For 
we cannot hinder snow from falling, but we 
can prevent it from doing harm to men. Just 
so is the seed of man which is limbo and out of 
the four elements. These powers are best called 
influences, for they are influences. It is an 
astronomical error when men say that an in- 
fluence comes from the stars. The heavens send 
no influences. We receive our form straight 
from the hand of God. Whatever we may be, 
God has made us and carved all our members. 
Our conditions, properties, habits, we receive 
from the inbreathing of life wherewith these 
things are given to us. What diseases we have 
come to us out of the three substances, as al- 
ready described, which have something to im- 
press on us, as fire on wood or straw, or saffron 
on water. That is the influence which we cannot 
drive away from us, as we can drive away the 
maladies originating from outside us in limbo. 
Men speak of an Inclinatio : it is nonsense. 
They say the man receives an Inclinatio from 
Mars, Saturn, the moon, and so on : it is error 
and deception. It would be more reasonable 
to say c Mars counterfeits the man,' for man 
is greater than Mars or the other planets. He 
who knows the heavens and understands men 
says nothing. He might say : ' Man is so noble 
in God's eyes and so highly accounted that his 
image is in the heavens with all he does and 


leaves undone,, his good, .andjih_eyil/ JBut that 
is not Inclinatio. A man may become fat and 
it is not the fault of his food : or he may become 
thin and his food does not help him. And the 
doctors set it down not to the specific influences, 
but declare with the ignorant astrologers that 
it is melancholia due to Saturn in the ascendant : 
man owes nothing to the ascendant ; he owes 
it to limbo and he is made by the hand of God, 
not by the ascendant, nor by planets, nor by 
constellations and the like, as if these could 
compel him to be either lean or fat. We require 
to understand these maladies thoroughly so 
as to distinguish them from the other maladies 
already explained. They will be treated in 
their own chapter." 

In the eighth and last chapter, Paracelsus 
goes beyond the visible body created by God 
out of the elements to the invisible body which 
is in every man and which was breathed into 
men by God. It isjn the invisiblbody_that men 
can sin and make the physical body to sin. 

" As we find written we must rise on the last 
day in our body and give account of our mis- 
deeds. The body which is invisible has sinned 
and must rise again with us. For we shall not 
give an account of our sicknesses nor of our health 
and the like, but of the things that proceed 
from the heart, for these concern man and these 
too are a body, not out of limbo but from the 
breath of God. But since we shall in our flesh 
see God our Saviour, it must be that the body 

1531] BITTER CRY 221 

made out of limbo, which is our body of flesh, 
shall be there too. Who would wish to be 
ignorant of those things revealed through the 
mouth of God ? We shall rise again in the flesh, 
in the body out of limbo, which has its own 
measure and uses, and what exceeds that mea- 
sure comes from the invisible body which trans- 
cends the bounds of nature. ..." 

The " Opus Paramirum " closes with a second 
address to Joachim von Watt, echoingJHohen-^ 
ieimbitter cr : " Who hath believed m 

" Strange, new, amazing, unheard of, they 
say are my physics, my meteorics, my theory, 
my practice. And how should I be otherwise 
than strange to men who have never wandered 
in the sun ? I am not afraid of the Aristotelian 
crowd, nor of the Ptolemaic, nor of that of 
Avicenna ; but I fear the insults ever thrown 
in my way and the untimely judgment, custom, 
order, which they call jurisprudence. Unto 
whom the gift is given he receives it : who is not 
called I need not call. But may God be with 
us our Defender and our Shield, to all eternity. 

" Vale." 



This life of mine 
Must be lived out and a grave thoroughly earned. 

THERE is not space in which to treat of 
the remaining books, of the " Paramirum," 
for the present biographer's aim is rather to 
vindicate a great man's fame than to attempt 
the appraisal of what he did for the evolution 
of research. When his works are translated 
into English by a writer scientifically fitted to 
deal with them, the pre-eminent part which 
Paracelsus played in the many-sided European 
renascence will be acknowledged and assessed 
at its true value. 

He knew himself that his entire mind on 
transcendent matters of both physical and 
spiritual life could be comprehended only by 
acquaintance with the whole body of his writings, 
and he repeatedly expressed his urgent desire 
that his readers should not content themselves 
with one treatise or one volume. The words 
to the " Reader " with which he prefaces the 
third book of the " Paramirum " are specific 
on this point : 



" Rough and harsh are the winds which the 
truth arouses against its followers, and yet 
I have ever hoped that He who loves the soul 
of man loves also his body, that He who saves 
the soul saves also the body, and therein I 
have thought to work some little good. But 
by many it was reft from me and that was a 
rough wind to me. Therefore, reader, take 
heed not to judge from the first, the second, nor 
the third chapter, but observe it out to the end 
and test with thine own proving that which 
I touch upon in these pages. Do not be startled 
by what I handle, but consider and estimate 
it without favour and friendship, fairly weighing 
it : for by God's predestination more books 
will follow built upon this foundation ; and 
these will more fully supply thee, therefore 
understand this and learn it." 

When the first and second books of the " Para- 
mirum " were completed, Hohenheim left St. 
Gallen, and, it would seem, rested from writing 
on medicine for some months. He gave himself 
up to evangelistic work and especially to the 
teaching and distribution of the Bible. He says 
in the third book that he " gave up medicine 
to ply other trades." He wandered through 
Appenzel and its mountains seeking out the poor 
and sick, and while healing the latter, telling 
the good tidings which had so long been with- 
held from them. This active medical mission- 
ary work amply accounts for the calumnies 
propagated and maintained by priests and friars 


against him. Not alone were the academic 
bodies banded to oppose and undermine his 
teaching, but the Catholic Church took part in 
their despicable intrigues. Only those men who 
were emancipated from the double bondage, 
the nobler sons of the Renascence, were Hohen- 
heim's friends. Had he been the irreligious 
sot his enemies proclaimed him, they would 
not have feared him as they did. He was a 
man of profound spiritual insight and unassail- 
able faith in God, lofty as that of the prophets 
and psalmists of Israel. 

Paracelsus lived some years in Switzerland 
and more particularly in Appenzel, but his 
footsteps are hard to trace and his allusions 
to this time are vague. It is surmised that he 
was resident in the commune of Urnasch for 
a considerable time, changing his lodgings at 
intervals. In 1838 several houses retained the 
tradition of having sheltered him. Probably he 
spent the greater part of three years between 
Urnasch and Huntvil, and in addition to his 
evangelistic work returned to writing, and not 
only completed the " Paramirum " and the 
" Paragranum," but continued his " Greater 
Surgery." He left behind him when he quitted 
Urnasch a portfolio full of writings and this 
was in the possession of a man who died at 
Huntvil in 1760, whose heirs divided the manu- 
scripts amongst them, as they could not decide 
who should inherit the whole. Some of these 


were on sacred subjects and in Latin, one en- 
titled Quod Sanguis et Caro Christi sit in Pane 
et Vino, and another, also on the tc Lord's 
Supper," was addressed to those like-minded 
friends in Appenzel with whom he had sat down 
to the communion table at a hamlet called Rog- 
genhalm, close to Biihler, a village near Gais. 

That he wandered from village to village is 
certain, and probably he covered far more 
ground than his allusions indicate. His work 
combined the avocations of colporteur, evange- 
list, and itinerary physician. 

" Here, in Appenzel country," says Dr. Julius 
Hartmann, " he fortified himself with his fellow- 
believers in the Gospel and conversed on things 
eternal ; there he attended the poor and sick, 
by whom his help was so urgently needed, and 
as he himself finely says, ' cared for the body 
in which the immortal dwells.' ' 

It was this occupation with the spiritual as 
well as the corporeal needs of men that rekindled 
the fire of his persecution, this time by the priests, 
and so fierce was their resentment that they 
persecuted even the men who showed him 
hospitality. Their animosity reduced Hohen- 
heim to great straits. Lodging, food, and 
clothes failed him, for when priests persecute 
it is with the cowardly weapon of terrorism. 
Even the amid et sodales, with whom he had 
sat at the Lord's Table, began to fall off, cowed 



by the " pfaffen "-fury, and there remained no 
course for him but to leave Switzerland a second 
time in haste. It is no wonder that he dis- 
owned Switzerland as a fatherland and claimed 
rather Villach than Einsiedeln as his " home." 

Early in the spring of 1534 he fled, in poverty 
so utter that his garments were tattered, and 
made his way through the mountains and 
by the upper valley of the Inn to Innsbruck. 
He returned to the profession as well as to the 
practice of medicine, for " the body in which 
the immortal dwells " lives by bread, and that 
had been hard to win in evangelistic work. 
He applied to the burgomaster for permission 
to practise at Innsbruck as physician, but it 
was denied on the ground that a man in rags 
could not be a doctor. Had he presented him- 
self in crimson robe with chain and ring of gold, 
his degree would not have been disputed, but 
Paracelsus was not an adept in the " philosophy 
of clothes." He was always careless in this 
respect, but at such a crisis, after starvation, 
persecution, homelessness, and wandering, he 
was hardly to be blamed for his appearance. 
Bitterly he records this incident in his " Book 
of the Plague," which was first published by 
Dr. Toxites at Strassburg in 1576, thirty-five 
years after Hohenheim's death. 

" Because I did not appear in the garnishry 
of the doctors, I was despatched with contempt 
and was forced to clear out. The burgomaster 


of Innsbruck had been used to doctors clad in 
silken robes at the courts of princes, not in 
shabby rags grilled by the sun." 

So he took to the road again and made his 
way by the Brenner Pass to Stertzing, where 
plague had just broken out in the hospital. 
This gives us the date June, 1534. In July 
and August it was raging in the town. Para- 
celsus stayed some weeks at Stertzing and was 
appalled at the ignorance and helplessness of 
the local doctors. He had encountered the 
plague in his earlier travels and had noted its 
causes and conditions as well as its treatment 
in different lands. He decided to put his own 
experience and opinion into writing for the 
benefit of the afflicted town to which he dedi- 
cated this famous treatise. He appended to 
his diagnosis of the plague a series of counsels 
as to its treatment and a number of prescrip- 
tions and recipes. The little book in four 
chapters was presented to the " Burgomaster 
and Magistrates of Stertzingen, by Theophrastus 
von Hohenheim, professor of the Holy Scrip- 
tures and doctor of both medicines." 

He received little thanks for his book from 
the civic worthies, but it is probable that during 
his stay in Stertzing he practised as one knowing 
the plague and made enough of money to pro- 
vide himself with necessary clothing, food, and 
lodging. He made two friends there, the brothers 
Poschinger, with one of whom he went to Meran 


and found there honour and hospitality. At 
Meran he finished his book and wrote its Intro- 

It was while he was either at Stertzing or 

/ Meran that his father, Dr. Wilhelm von Hohen- 

Y heim, died, but the news did not reach him for 

four years. His travels were continuous during 

those years and the magistrates of Villach must 

have lost all trace of his whereabouts. 

Toxites was a native of Stertzing and, as Dr. 
Sudhoff suggests, probably saw and copied the 
original manuscript of Hohenheim's " Book of 
the Plague," which he was the first to publish. 
Huser's edition is thirteen years later than that 
of Toxites and is apparently founded upon the 
earlier, with some comparison of the printed 
book and a manuscript copy. 

From Meran Hohenheim made his way into 
the mountain districts near Stertzing and to- 
wards Salzburg, and explored them, crossing 
the Penser Pass to the Hohenthauern and 
visiting the Krymlerthauern, the Felberthauern, 
the Fuschk, and the Raurischerthauern, and so 
recovered some of his lost time in the study 
of mountain diseases. He alludes to this spell 
of mountaineering in the first and second books 
of his " Greater Surgery," and describes the 
symptoms of frost-bite and other ailments in 
these glacial regions, as well as their remedies. 
He turned westwards from the barren labyrinth 
of the Thauern mountains and made his way 

1535] PFAFFERS 229 

to the Tyrol and Upper Engadine, pausing at 
Veltlin, where he noted the freedom from gouty 
diseases amongst the natives, and spending 
some time at St. Moritz to analyse the acid 
water of its famous spring, an account of whose 
qualities and medicinal value he added to his 
record of " Natural Waters." 

In August, 1535, the abbot of Pfaffers sent 
for him and invited him to stay at the monastery 
while he required his aid, so that he had time 
to investigate another mineral water of great 
and continuous healing power, which he de- 
scribed in a little book dedicated to his host, the 
Abbot Johann Jakob Russinger. This book 
was printed in the following year, apparently 
at the abbot's instigation, at Zurich or St. 
Gallen, and it was mentioned in Stumpf's 
"Swiss Chronicle" for 1548. It bears the title 
" Concerning the Pfeffers Bath situated in 
Upper Switzerland, its virtues, powers, and 
effects, its source and derivation, its manage- 
ment and regulation ; by the most learned 
Doctor Theophrastus Paracelsus." There is no 
clue to the printer nor to the place of printing. 
In 1571 the little book was published at Strass- 
burg, edited by Toxites and printed by Christian 
Miiller, and nineteen years later it was included 
in the seventh part of Huser's edition. As Huser 
gives no reference to his authority, it is probable 
that he used the abbot's impression, as did 
Toxites, making a few verbal changes. The 


treatise was translated into Latin in 1570 and 
later editions of the original were published in 
1594 and 1619, the latter by the Abbot of 
Pfaffers then in office, Michael von der Hohen 
Sax. Paracelsus tells how he saw the sick 
persons lowered from a wooden house high over 
the gorge down into the healing waters of the 

Early in September, 1535, he had left Pfaffers 
and had taken the mountain road towards 
Wirtemberg. He did much climbing, and in 
the chapter upon frost and its dangers he men- 
tions the St. Gothard, the Spliigen, the Albula, 
the Bernina, and the Hacken Passes. The last 
is between Schwitz and Einsiedeln, and its 
occurrence in his book leads us to conjecture 
that he may have visited his birthplace as he 
fared westwards. Apparently he halted at 
Memmingen and certainly at Mindelheim, where 
he cured the town clerk, Adam Reyssner, of an 
illness which had troubled him for years. Tox- 
ites heard of it from Reyssner himself. " If 
you take the two medicines ordered," said 
Hohenheim, " you will need to ask no doctor's 
advice for years to come." Reyssner took 
them and not only got well, but kept well till 
he was an old man. 

By the end of 1535 Paracelsus had finished 
the most influential of his works, " The Greater 
Surgery." He was anxious to publish it at 
Ulm and made his way thither early in 1536, 


carrying his manuscript with him. He negoti- 
ated a contract with Hans Varnier and the 
printing began. But when the proof-sheets 
reached him, they were a mass of errors. Var- 
nier had not observed that part of the agree- 
ment which concerned the correction of proofs 
and they were hopelessly disfigured. Para- 
celsus left Ulm with his manuscripts and took 
them to Augsburg, where he made an arrange- 
ment for their printing with Heinrich Steiner. 
Varnier went on with the production in spite 
of the lamentable condition of his proof-sheets 
and published " The Greater Surgery " that year 
in most faulty form. 

At Augsburg the authentic edition appeared, 
the first volume on July 28 and the second 
on August 22, 1536. Paracelsus had taken 
great pains to make it perfect. He dictated 
the manuscript to an assistant, personally super- 
intended the press correction, and intimated 
in a preface to the reader that the Augsburg 
edition was the only valid publication of his 
book. It was dedicated to the " Most Mighty 
and August Prince and Lord, Ferdinand, King 
of Rome and Archduke of Austria." 

The titles run : 

" Concerning the Greater Surgery, the first 
volume, by the instructed and attested doctor 
in both medicines, Paracelsus : Of all wounds 
by stabbing, shooting, burning, bite, bone- 
breaking, and all that surgery includes, with 


the cure and understanding of all accidents 
present or to come, pointed out without errors. 
Concerning the discoveries of both the old and 
the new science, nothing omitted." 

" Concerning the Greater Surgery, the second 
volume, by the instructed and attested doctor of 
both medicines, Paracelsus: Of open sores and 
hurts, their cause and cure, according to proved 
experience without error and further experi- 

The dedication of the second volume is also 
to the Emperor Ferdinand, but is somewhat 
differently worded : 

" To the Most Mighty, Most August Prince 
and Lord, Ferdinand, by God's Grace King 
of Rome, Hungary and Bohemia, Archduke of 
Austria, our most Gracious Lord." 

The first volume was illustrated by a wood- 
cut occupying half a page : it represents a 
plastered court with a vaulted gate before which 
are two wounded knights. One lies near the 
steps of the gateway with a wound in his head, 
his body thrust through by a short sword, the 
point of which shows at the back ; the other 
wounded man sits on a log of wood with his 
head bare, great wounds in his right shoulder 
and thigh, wounds from stabbing in his breast 
and with both his hands hewn off, blood pouring 
from the stumps, while on the ground before 
him lie the hands, a helmet with feathers, and 
a long sword, 


The wood-cut of the second volume shows a 
sick man on the right, his left thigh covered 
with ulcers, his leg stretched out on a folding- 
chair near which a doctor stands and rubs a 
salve into the sores with a spatula ; on the left 
the barber stands in an elegantly sprawling 
attitude, his left foot placed on a stool and 
plaster spread on his knee, evidently considering 
himself the chief person present. 

On the reverse side of the title-page, Para- 
celsus addresses the reader and explains to 
him his mishap at Ulm and his disavowal of 
Varnier's edition, and asks him to use the Augs- 
burg edition, which is corrected and amended 
by the author. 

No book of Hohenheim's has been so often 
republished as this. Before the end of the 
sixteenth century nineteen editions had ap- 
peared, amongst them several Dutch versions, 
two Latin versions, and two French versions 
translated from the second Latin version. Many 
other editions succeeded these. It was possibly 
from Gerard Dorn's Latin translation that the 
famous French surgeon Ambroise Pare learnt 
and assimilated Hohenheim's treatment of 
wounds received in battle. Pare was a man 
of like temperament, and one of his famous 
sayings might have been Hohenheim's : "I 
dressed him and God healed him." 

In August, 1536, immediately after the com- 
pleted publication of this great work, Paracelsus 


issued his " Prognostication concerning twenty- 
four years to come," dedicated to the Emperor 
Ferdinand and printed by Heinrich Steiner at 
Augsburg. It was translated almost immedi- 
ately into Latin by Marcus Tatius, teacher of 
poetry in the Hoch Schule at Ingolstadt and 
translator of many classics, who just at this 
time was bringing out a book with Heinrich 
Steiner and so made Hohenheim's acquaintance. 
Second and third undated Latin editions followed. 
It was customary in those years, when news- 
papers did not exist, to publish almanacks 
at the beginning of the year with information 
from the past and predictions regarding the 
future year, and these included within their 
scope the Empire, the Papacy, the monarchies 
of the west and the sultanates of the east. 
We have already mentioned the predictions 
by Paracelsus published in Nuremberg by Pey- 
pus : he returned from time to time to this 
kind of composition, moved partly by the know- 
ledge acquired in his travels, and partly by his 
extraordinary insight into the working out of 
causes towards events. As a scientist he had 
abandoned astrological superstition, but as a 
mystic he was conscious of gifts which allied 
him to the seers of old, and as a Bible student 
he believed in the powers of men who like him- 
self abode much in solitude and in communion 
with God. In all his greater books we find 
the careful research of a scientific student 


closely allied to a deep and inextinguishable 
sense of the spiritual, above all of God, the 
omnipotent, the omniscient, the omnipresent. 
If with his eyes and his intelligence he patiently 
mastered the pages of nature's book, with his 
spiritual consciousness he learnt of God and 
knew Him not alone in His visible creation, 
but in the historic past, the roused and awakened 
present, and in flashes of revelation from behind 
the veil. Paracelsus was aware that 

in man's self arise 
August anticipations, symbols, typee 
Of a dim splendour ever on before 
In that eternal circle life pursues. 

The booklet was illustrated by two wood-cuts, 
one of a student sitting at a reading-desk, 
holding a sphere in his left hand and pointing 
to the sky with his right. Through the open 
window the sun and eight stars are visible, 
the latter probably symbolising the eight 
heavens. The second wood-cut shows the four 
winds blowing towards the centre. In Huser's 
edition of the " Prognostication " which finds 
a place in the tenth volume of his collection, 
there are thirty-two symbolic wood-cuts to illus- 
trate the predictions, two of which, as Dr. 
Aberle tells us, were reproduced in a flying- 
sheet issued in 1606. This flying-sheet may 
still be seen in the Vienna Libraries and in the 
Museum Carolina Augusteum in Salzburg. The 
two selected illustrate Hohenheim's prediction 


concerning his own works. One gives the por- 
trait of the scholastic doctor, adorned with 
golden ring and other splendours, telling his 
beads, but one-eyed and so bound by the fetters 
of authority that he can look neither behind 
him nor before and grows stiff with horror at 
sight of Azoth, Hohenheim's sword, and so 
terrified by its handle-knob that he shatters 
upon it his head and what it contains of reason. 
The illustration pictures the unhappy man 
ringed round by interwoven cordage, holding 
his paternoster and staring with his one eye. 
On the other edge of the flying-sheet is the 
companion picture with its prophecy. A child's 
head rises from the ground on the left corner 
and looks with lively interest at a heap of books, 
some of them inscribed with a capital R and 
one with the word Rosa, rolls of manuscript 
amongst them. The child asks : " What are 
they ? ' : And the prophecy explains : 

" Some twenty years after I am dead, both 
young and old will know what my knowledge 
was, although at present it suffers discredit. 
Truth will then bring to light its work ; all 
false medicine will be destroyed and with it 
all other stupidity, and men will find that in 
my writings are to be found all the healing 
powers of both the earth and the heavens." 

This prediction was fulfilled by the copious 
publication of Hohenheim's works after his 

1536] "HUNTED TO THE END" 237 

death. But the reaction brought about by 
the powers of darkness contrived to arrest 
their influence, and for more than three centuries 
he was accused of borrowing his great concep- 
tions from men who were either not yet born 
when he died or whose writings did not appear 
for twenty years after that event. Isaac Hol- 
landus and Basilius Valentinus were two of 
the alleged forerunners of Hohenheim. The 
first belonged at the earliest to 1560, and the 
second wrote his treatise " On the Philosopher's 
Stone " in 1599. It is quite probable that both 
men drew their tenets from Hohenheim's books. 
Paracelsus was the forerunner of all scientific 
progress from the sixteenth to the nineteenth 
century. He needed no guidance from his 
contemporaries, above whom he towered. He 
refused to be blinded by the dust of ages which 
they held sacred. He dared to denounce it 
as a rubbish-heap and to look at God's creation 
with vision undimmed by its sophistries, its 
phantasms, and its mendacities. The man who 
to-day, from the vantage ground of modern 
science, descries a new horizon, is acclaimed, 
and justly, with world- wide homage, but this 
man, who cleared the way and who refused to 
be smothered or cowed by the dust and din 
his iconoclastic genius roused, was persecuted 
to his last moments. " We," he might well 
have cried, " who make sport for the gods 
are hunted to the end." 


He kept his vision clear in toil, privation, 
and unresting pursuit of his aim. There was 
none to help him save God, to whom he clung 
and from whom he received his priceless powers 
at the cost of all that the world counts gain. 
He bartered no pulse-beat of his soul for fee 
or reward. His books were altogether his own. 
From the " Light of Nature " he kindled the 
lamp of Science, and in that light men in time 
began to know. 

Hohenheim proudly claimed his books as 
altogether his, and his defiance of the " Aris- 
totelian crowd " ran : 

Eins andern Knecht soil niemand seyn 
Der fur sich bleyben kann alleyn. 

This was his favourite motto, and in either 
Latin or German it is to be found below the 
portraits painted in his lifetime. It may be 
translated, although less vigorously than in the 
original : 

That man no other man shall own 
Who to himself belongs alone. 

He expanded its sense in his work " De Felice 
Liberalitate " : 

" He to whom God has given gifts and wealth 
shall belong to no other man, but shall be lord 
of himself and of his own will and heart, so that 
those things which God has given him shall go 
joyously forth from him." 

Silver and gold had he none, but those gifts 


which God had given him went joyously forth 
from him to others. His books were amongst 
the greatest of these gifts to men and he claims 
for them that they were transferred from the 
pages of the book of nature. It is the doctor's 
business, he insists, to understand nature and 
not alone the earthly and mortal nature, but 
also that which is divine and immortal, for both 
the eyes of the body and the eyes of the spirit 
are needed for the full revelation of the works 
of God. In this understanding of nature, Para- 
celsus includes the mystical as well as the in- 
tellectual perception. His neo-platonism urged 
this dual point of view. To the ordinary 
scientific student, the interference of mystical 
consciousness seems to be inimical to exact 
research, but Paracelsus was impelled towards 
research as much by his spiritual as by his 
intellectual powers. The mystical imagination 
has ever advanced by prophetic insight the 
epoch-making discoveries of the student of 

" Any one who is practically acquainted with 
scientific work," said Professor Huxley, " is 
aware that those who refuse to go beyond fact 
rarely get as far as fact ; and any one who has 
studied the history of science knows that almost 
every great step therein has been made by the 
' anticipation of nature.' ' 

Hohenheim's own anticipations bear out this 


truth, one which has been proved again and 
again in the field of science. The quality of 
insight is essential to the original mind in what- 
ever field it operates. 

In order to understand Hohenheim's point of 
view we must remember that the revival of 
neo-platonism in the middle ages was due to 
Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim, who was born 
at Cologne in 1486, and was just seven years 
older than Paracelsus. Between the sixth and 
fifteenth centuries there was a complete suspense 
of the teaching founded by Ammonius Saccus 
in the third century, and established by the 
teaching of his disciple Plotinus. The latter 
held that God is the foundation of all things, 
that He is immortal and omnipresent, pure 
light, while matter and form are illusions, 
shadows of the soul. God is one and the basis 
of all thought. Mind is His image. Soul is 
the product of mind's action and produces 
other actions, such as faith, aspiration, venera- 
tion, which rise towards God ; speculation, 
reasoning, sophistry, which occupy themselves 
on a lower plane, and the still lower activities 
of mere physical life. Matter is formed by the 
soul within it, for every form has its soul whether 
apparently living or not. In all is divine life, 
in the stars as on the earth. There is neither 
time nor space in mind : it is the world of the 
Spirit, in which presides a supreme Over-Soul 
and souls possessed of power to think ; these 


souls tend to the higher or to the lower and 
alter accordingly. Those that tend to the higher 
become purified and spiritualised. It is essential 
to know so that one may attain, and he whose 
mind is illumined sees the Highest, the Light 
which lightens the world. To him it is given 
to become united with the Supreme. 

Porphyry followed Plotinus and extended his 
teaching by the tenet that " the universal soul 
being essentially one with the infinite supreme 
Spirit may by the power of the Supreme dis- 
cover and produce everything. An individual 
soul purified and free from the body may do 
the same. ' 

The successors of these three amplified the 
powers accorded to the illumined soul by know- 
ledge to distinguish between good and evil ; 
healing of diseases ; the gift of making wise 
laws ; and the gift of useful inventions. The 
neo-platonic dogmas fell into abeyance in the 
sixth century, but revived with the Renascence, 
when Cornelius Agrippa added to them his own 
development of their doctrine. Man is the 
microcosm, the image of nature : the true image 
of God is the logos, the word, which is wisdom, 
life, light, truth. The spiritual soul in union 
with God is their image. Celestial light takes 
invisible form in the soul and gradually shines 
throughout the body so that it becomes like 
a star. There is a spiritual power residing in 
man's soul, which enables him to attract, in- 


fluence, and change things, which radiates healing 
and can be divine, but if used for selfish ends 
can become diabolic. 

To these doctrines some great men in the 
mental upheaval of Renascence times became 
converts, amongst them the Abbot Trithemius 
and his pupil Theophrastus von Hohenheim. 
Paracelsus developed Cornelius Agrippa's re- 
cognition of man's spiritual power by his theory 
of the magnes, the concealed power which attracts 
to itself those things in other bodies which it 

" Man," he says, " has something magnetic 
in him without which he cannot exist. But 
this magnetism is there on account of man, 
not man on account of the magnetism. . . . 
By this attractive power he draws to himself 
what is in the air surrounding him : and the 
healthy are infected by the unhealthy through 
this magnetic attraction." 

Ennemoser says : 

" A great part of the system of Paracelsus 
is based on magnetism. In man there is a 
something sidereal which stands in connection 
with the stars from which it has been drawn 
and attracts their strength to it like a magnet. 
This life he calls the Magnes Microcosmi and 
explains through it many circumstances in 
nature. Man is nourished by the four elements, 
but also imperceptibly through the magnetic 

1586] MAGNETISM 248 

power which resides in all nature and by which 
every individual member draws its specific 
nourishment to itself. Those secret influences 
have their positive office in the maintenance of 
the body. Upon this theory of magnetism 
he bases the sympathetic cure of disease. In 
the mumia or magnetic force, he says, all healing 
power resides, for it draws everything in the 
whole body to itself." 

He was undoubtedly the founder of the school 
of magnetism and this word originated with 
him. He says in the fourth book of his treatise 
" Concerning the origin of Invisible Diseases," 
which forms the fifth part of the " Paramirum," 
that however powerful the great world may be, 
the little world contains all its virtues, all its 

" For in man is the nature of all the fruits 
of the earth, if its ores, its waters, its four 
winds and all the heavenly bodies. What is 
there upon earth whose power is not in man ? . . . 
All the powers of the plants and the trees, are 
to be found in his spiritual body ; of its metals, 
its minerals, its precious stones. ... If you 
would have balm, you will find it there : if 
antimony, you will find it there, and those 
things work invisibly. For in man there are 
two forces, a working power which is visible 
and a working power which is invisible. All 
hurts which the visible body bears find their 
healing in the invisible. Just as the power of 
the lily breaks forth in perfume which is in- 


visible, so the invisible body sends forth its 
healing influence. Just as in the visible body 
are wonderful activities which the senses can 
perceive, so too lie powers in the invisible body 
which can work great wonders." 

He found in this mumia, or magnetic body, 
the source of vitality, and he proved that its 
power could be used by one possessing it to 
arrest and heal the diseases of others. Many of 
his own cures were due to its exercise and he 
used his tinctures only in special cases. 

Paracelsus recognised and practised another 
of the invisible powers of the mumia, that which 
is now accepted and employed as telepathy. 
Trithemius was aware of it and was able to 
transfer his thoughts to persons at a distance 
even when he did not know where they were. 
He may have confided his experience to Para- 
celsus, but hardly to many of his pupils, for 
at that time such a gift would have appeared 
diabolic to all but the illumined. Trithemius 
and his greatest pupil placed it among the pos- 
sibilities of nature. The power was indeed 
practised by sorcerers and witches to convey 
the evil which they or their employers desired 
for their foes and victims, but these people 
practised it in the faith that evil spirits assisted 
them, and it was only such men as Trithemius 
and Paracelsus who treated it as part of the 
microcosmic equipment. Hohenheim strongly 


denounced sorcery and necromancy, because he 
believed in their potency for evil, just as he 
denounced the use of hypnotism for evil pur- 

Dr. Franz Hartmann writes : 

" The psychic power belonging to the soul 
and the magical power of the spirit are in the 
great majority of mankind still only little de- 
veloped and known. They are often exercised 
unconsciously so that the greatest sorcerer does 
not himself know by what means his feats are 
performed. The powers called into action are 
the will and the imagination. It is a known 
law of nature that like associates with like, and 
if an evil will becomes active, it attracts to 
itself corresponding evil influences from the 
invisible realm, which assist the sorcerer in his 
nefarious work." 

In his treatise on " Occult Philosophy," Para- 
celsus writes of telepathy and hypnotism as 
capable of much evil, and insists upon the God- 
inspired and righteous will and imagination 
for all who use them. " All real strength 
comes from God : no matter how saintly a 
man may be, he accomplishes nothing by his 
own power, because all spiritual power comes 
from God." Conjurations and consecrations 
he condemns, " because our power rests in 
our faith in God, and not in ceremonies and 
conjurations ; but the consecration of the sacra- 
ments, especially of baptism, marriage, and 


of the body and blood of Christ upon the altar, 
ought to be held in high esteem until the day 
when we shall all be made perfectly holy and 
clothed with a celestial body." 

He claimed this faith in God as a flawless 
armour against the intrusion of evil. Still, he 
held talismans in some measure of esteem, 
particularly the double interlaced triangle, and 
the pentagon inscribed at each corner with 
one of the syllables of the holy name of God. 
His trust in healing charms composed of metals 
and precious stones was based on their magnetic 
and electric power. 

The Paracelsian occultism was mainly that 
of neo-platonism and the Kabbala, as were 
also the doctrines of Cornelius Agrippa and in 
later years of Van Helmont and Jacob Boehme, 
who were his disciples. Ennemoser tells us 

" the Kabbala consisted of the sacred idea of 
God : the primitive spiritual creation and the 
first spiritual fall ; the origin of darkness and 
chaos ; the creation of the world in six periods ; 
the creation of material man and his fall; the 
restoration of the primitive harmony and the 
ultimate bringing back of all creatures to God." 

In the Schools of the Prophets, which Samuel 
restored but did not found, the scholars were 
taught these high mysteries and when found 

1536] MAGIC 247 

worthy were inducted into the mysteries of 
magic, which included presentiments, the power 
of prognostication, the power of comprehend- 
ing and influencing all the forces and products 
of nature, as well as control over certain spirits. 
The evil side of magic is also present in the 
Kabbala, but as a thing hateful to God. One 
of its great dogmas is : " Everywhere the 
external is the work of the internal : every- 
where the external reacts on the internal." 

Probably Chaldea was the source from which 
the seed of Abraham drew these dogmas and 
possibly in Chaldea they were the heritage be- 
queathed by races already of remote antiquity 
when Abraham was born at Urukh, a heritage 
shared by all the Semitic nations, Assyrians 
and Arabians as well as Hebrews. They in- 
cluded the acknowledgment of the Angelic 
Orders ; of celestial chieftains and intelligences 
belonging to the mystical universe ; of the 
eight Heavens : of minor elemental intelli- 
gences, spirits of fire, air, earth, and water, not 
necessarily good, and needing control. Even 
the saintly Dominican doctor, Thomas Aquinas, 
had accepted the Kabbala long before Ho- 
henheim's time. Much indeed of its doctrine 
had passed into the theology of other 
nations, western as well as eastern, some of it 
spontaneously, some through contact and 

Magic is practically " the traditional science 


of the secrets of nature " bequeathed by the 
Magi, who were the priests and theologians 
of oriental civilisations : 

The sacred knowledge, here and there dispersed 
About the world. 



Man is not man 

While only here and there a star dispels 
The darkness, here and there a towering mind 
O'erlooks its prostrate fellows : when the host 
Is out at once to the despair of night, 
When all mankind alike is perfected, 
Equal in full-blown powers then, not till then, 
I say, begins man's general infancy. 

PARACELSUS was no juggler, no vulgar trickster 
assuming the garb, ritual, and pose of the super- 
man. He left such practices to the baser 
natures of his own and later days. To under- 
stand him as he was we must divest his memory 
of many legendary attributes. It was customary 
after his death to ascribe to him the occult 
manufacture of gold, the possession of the 
philosopher's stone, dominion over elemental 
and evil spirits, the powers of alchemic creation 
and astrological prediction. He was for cen- 
turies after his death claimed as the founder 
of Rosicrucianism, one of the first traces of 
which ascription is to be seen in the illustration 
mentioned in the last chapter as amongst the 
thirty-two symbolic wood-cuts in Huser's edition 
of the " Prognostications," which was repro- 
duced in the flying-sheet of 1606, and which 



shows his books inscribed with either the letter 
R or with the word Rosa. 

One by one these legends can be discredited. 
Oddly enough, the badge of the Rosicmcians 
was a development of Luther's emblem an 
open rose whose centre is a heart from which 
springs the Latin cross. The rose, heart, and 
cross are each and all ancient hierograms, 
pertaining to symbolic religion and recognised 
as emblems of purgation by suffering and at- 
tainment of union with the divine. Luther may 
have combined them into a symbol of the 
Christian life. 

But not until 1593 did this symbol become 
the arcane badge of a secret society apparently 
theosophical and Protestant, but not yet called 
Rosicrucian. It was in Nuremberg that Simon 
Studion established, fifty-seven years after 
Hohenheim's death, the first Rosicrucian Brother- 
hood and called it the Militia Crucifera Evan- 
gelica, and it was he who elaborated the mystic 
symbolism of the Rose-Cross. But the frater- 
nity was not known as Rosicrucian till early 
in the seventeenth century. A number of 
treatises were then published purporting to es- 
tablish a mythical origin for Rosicrucianism, 
but found to be inventions. The fame of 
Paracelsus was connected with Studion's 
Brotherhood because its members were students 
of nature and accepted his scientific teaching 
of chemistry and astronomy, elaborating his 


views upon evolution into an advanced theory. 
It was this connection which gave to his philo- 
sophical volumes the fame of being the sources 
of Rosicrucian scholarship. But Paracelsus died 
more than half a century before the foundation 
of the Militia Crucifera Evangelica and the 
inventions of Johann Valentin Andreae, a priest 
at Tubingen and later Abbot of Adelsberg 
in Stuttgart, did not begin to appear till 1614. 
This man compiled his fictitious pamphlets 
in the hope that they might effect a reformation 
amongst the clergy. On his deathbed he con- 
fessed that they were intended as satirical 
fables, but their title had gone forth into the 
German world, and Rosicrucian societies were 
formed at Nuremberg, Hamburg, Dantzic, and 
Erfurt. The infection spread to Holland and 
to Italy, more particularly to Mantua and Venice. 
Their members wore a special costume at the 
meetings, black robe and blue ribbon embroi- 
dered with a golden wreath and rose, and they 
used the Buddhist tonsure indicating the oriental 
influence which had developed the " True Order 
of the Golden and Rosy Cross." 

" All had to bear the cross of suffering before 
they could become crowned with victory ; all 
had to crucify their personal and selfish will 
and die in regard to those things that attract 
the soul to the sphere of earthly desires and 
illusions before they could have its spiritual 
faculties unfolded by the rays of the rising sun." 


We cannot but recognise Rosicrucianism as 
a specialised recrudescence of primeval mystical 
culture, christianised as had been the sacerdo- 
talism and ceremonial of paganism, and con- 
taining the same immortal verities which had 
civilised the East millenniums before Christianity. 

The tradition that Paracelsus was a gold- 
maker lasted for centuries after his death : it 
was founded on the deathless faculty for chi- 
merical conjecture which distinguishes the 
human from the animal mind. Paracelsus in 
speech and writing laughed the " gold-cooks " 
to scorn. For him chemistry meant the dis- 
covery by analysis and combination of medi- 
cines for healing. None the less his very secre- 
taries clung to the delusion and hoped some day 
to catch him in the act and to discover his 
process. That he was aware of this is certain. 
To it was due the hypocritical constancy of 
Oporinus, " this arch-knave that dogs my heels, 
as a gaunt crow a gasping sheep." 

He played with their childish and obstinate 
superstition, and one practical jest is recorded 
by the " studious Franz," in a letter published 
by Michael Neander in 1586, from which we 
may quote : 

" One day he said to me : ' Franz, we have 
no money,' and gave me a gulden, bidding me 
go to the apothecary, get a pound's weight of 
mercury and bring it to him. I did this and 
brought it to him with the change, for mercury 

1536] GOLD-MAKING 253 

was not dear at that time. Then he placed 
four bricks so close together on the hearth that 
the air below could hardly escape, and shook 
the mercury into a crucible, which he set upon 
the bricks, bidding me lay burning coals round 
about it and heap coals and coal-dust upon 
them. Then he went into the room with me 
and after a long time said : ' Our volatile 
slave may fly away from us, we must see what 
he is doing.' As we came in, it was already 
smoking and flying away. He said : ' See, 
take hold of the mass with the pincers and keep 
it inside for a little while, it will soon melt.' 
This happened accordingly. Then he said : 
6 Take out the pincers and cover the crucible, 
make up the fire and let it stand.' We went 
back into the room and forgot what was in 
the crucible for half an hour, when he said : 
' We must now see what God has given us ; 
take off the lid.' This I did, but the fire was 
quite out and in the crucible all was solid. 
' What like is it ? ' said he. I said : c It looks 
yellow like gold.' ' Yes,' he said, ' it will be 
gold.' I lifted it off, opened the crucible, as it 
was cold, and took out the lump. It was gold. 
Then he said : ' Take it and carry it to the 
goldsmith over the apothecary's and ask him 
to give me money for it.' This I did ; the 
goldsmith weighed it, it came to an ounce less 
than a pound, then he went and fetched money 
in a flat purse made of cardboard which was 
full of Rhenish guldens and said : ' Take this 
to your master and say that it is not quite enough, 
but I will send him the rest when I get it.' 


There was a roll about the size of a big hazelnut 
done up with red sealing-wax, but what was 
inside I did not dare, being a young man, to 
ask, but I think that had I asked him, he would 
have told me, for he always showed me liking." 

In this practical jest, apothecary and gold- 
smith cleverly played their parts. 

He says in his " Greater Surgery " : 

" It has happened that in chemical research 
very wonderful medicinal discoveries have been 
made which serve to prolong life. . . . But 
following these come the goldmaking tinctures 
assuming to transmute metals. Thus they 
have made a tincture which colours metal. 
And from such has arisen the opinion that a 
change can be made in metals and that one 
substance can be transformed into another, 
so that a rough, coarse, and filthy substance 
can be transmuted into one that is pure, refined, 
and sound. Such discoveries I have attained 
in various kinds, always connected with at- 
tempts to change into gold and silver." 

We know already what was his attitude to- 
wards astrology, a study which fascinated men 
of his day and even men of the Renascence, 
as Girolamo Cardano in northern Italy and 
Melancthon in Germany. Cardano busied him- 
self with horoscopes all his life and believed in 
them, even when events discredited them, as 
in the case of his horoscope of King Edward VI. 

1536] ASTROLOGY 255 

of England, for whom he predicted recovery and 
long life. He may have had a wholesome 
fear of drawing up an ill-omened horoscope for 
a king, and yet he was no coward but an 
exceptionally truthful man for an Italian of 
that date. That Melancthon held astrology 
to be worthy of serious credence helps us to 
estimate its attraction for even the most culti- 
vated men of the sixteenth century 

There is little doubt that Hohenheim gave 
it a thorough trial. Probably the mysterious 
visits to Esslingen fix periods of his investi- 
gation, and these may have been renewed at 
St. Gallen with Schobinger's assistance. It was 
shortly after these visits that his conclusions 
found expression in the " Paramirum," where 
he declares his antipathy to astrological theories 
and to ascribing character, tendencies, and 
destinies to the influence of the heavenly bodies. 
He repudiates all such views and claims God 
as the giver of all human qualities and of their 
manifold combinations. In his two treatises 
upon comets, he expresses views directly op- 
posed to those of the astrological writers of 
his time and seeks to define in exact terms the 
study of the heavenly bodies as an effort to 
know what they really are and how they are 
placed in relation to the earth, refusing to regard 
such a study as arrested in the hands of diviners 
and soothsayers, but instead as a true research 
beginning to yield fruits in discoveries as trust- 


worthy as those made in the other provinces 
of nature. In fact, he was a keen student of 
positive astronomy. 

Necromancy and sorcery he abhorred with 
all his might. He did not deny their claims 
to credence, but ascribed their effects to the 
invocation and exercise of powers at least evil, 
at worst infernal, and on both counts to be 
abjured. Nor did he give these the credit of 
all the malignant diseases popularly claimed 
for them. He argued forcibly against demonia- 
cal possession and insisted that such maladies 
as St. Vitus' dance, St. Veltin's sickness, St. 
Anthony's fire and others, are not indications of 
saintly wrath inflicted, as penance, but proceed 
from some one or other of the natural origins 
of disease, and that each must be studied from 
the standpoint of true medical diagnosis. He 
taught that corrupted imagination had extra- 
ordinary power to bring about disease, but 
denied that the devil could create disease, al- 
though he was able to induce in men the evil 
spiritual and mental conditions which were 
favourable to disease. A passage from the 
last book of the " Paramirum," that upon the 
" Origins of Invisible Diseases," and from its 
final chapter, may be translated as illustrating 
his attitude towards sorcery both outside and 
inside the Church : 

" Satan sees to it that we do not use this 
means without introductory ceremonies. What 


are these ceremonies ? Hypocritical fasting and 
praying : as the Pharisee made a show before 
men, so must a like pharisaic show be made 
before the devil, with characters, numbers, 
and times and many abstinences, with blessing 
and consecrating, with holy water and the like. 
For the devil sees to it that if a man would 
receive something from God, he must forget 
God and practice all these ceremonies for the 
devil himself, since it is he who will grant the 
man's request. For just as men live in the 
world, one opposed to the other and wandering 
in the misleading of their theological guides, so 
too do these spirits. The lovers of ceremonies 
have converted the spirits to words and names, 
so that they may be garbed in these just as 
if it were not the spirits upon which men call. 
It is much as if men should lose the favour of 
God by denying good words to Peter, although 
Peter and the spirits are servants and must do 
what they are bidden do. From which it follows 
that if Christ should bid Peter set at liberty, 
he must do it, and if He should bid him bind, 
he must do it. And when he does it, it holds 
both in heaven and upon earth. . . . All things 
must be sought for in God ; therefore what He 
bids His servants do, they obey, whoever they 
are, whether angel or devil. For the spirits 
too are bidden to teach and to help and so God 
gives us what is good through friend and foe. 
Therefore at His bidding the spirits have re- 
vealed knowledge and have unveiled the Light 
of Nature. They have been bidden to do this 
to those who have sought earnestly to know. 


But there are those who call upon these spirits 
as if they did these things of their own will, 
and thus they have been wrested from God's 
command and according to the hidden teaching 
have, by the Chaldeans, Persians, and Egyptians, 
been identified by name and raised to the posi- 
tion of gods. If we ask much from the saints 
and God's command is not present, they can 
do nothing for us, for they are only His servants. 
And yet their names too are preserved and men 
have played with their spirits and set up cere- 
monies, fasting, praying and the like, just like 
the Jew Solomon with his mirror, or Moses 
with his book of consecration : and thus ever 
more and more, men have multiplied ceremonies 
in the hope of prevailing by such means. But 
they receive only worthless weeds and foolish- 
ness, for such is the gift of all servants with 
whom God has nothing to do." 

Concerning charms against harm and diseases, 
to be obtained by witchcraft from the devil, 
he says : 

" Do you really believe that the devil in 
his own might can make a charm so that no 
one shall be able to wound or stab me ? That 
is impossible : no one but God can do that. 
The devil can create nothing, not so much as 
that an earthen pot cannot be broken, far less 
a human being. He cannot even extract the 
smallest tooth, far less heal a sickness. He 
cannot change a single plant from what it is. 
He cannot bring two men together, far less 


make them friends or foes. The reasons are, 
first, concerning the charm against wounding 
or stabbing : He who protected St. Lawrence 
so that he was not burned upon the grating, 
who saved St. John from the boiling oil, who 
brought the three children unhurt out of the 
fiery furnace, He knows and will help them 
whom He wills to help. And as happens to 
men now, so will happen at the last day, when 
God will judge according to the faith and ac- 
cording to the superstition of men. Who can 
heal sickness but God alone ? A man may call 
upon the spirits, he may as well call upon the 
plants. It is God alone who can alter the 
body : be steadfast to Him. The spirits are 
powerless unless God decrees or summons. . . . 
And it is fantastic to suppose that written 
characters can make either friendship or enmity." 

He then reminds us that from the light and 
power of nature comes protection for the body, 
and that these can only be serviceable when 
we have faith in God. 

" Therefore we must hold fast to the glory of 
God and no way depart from our faith in Him, 
and so make ourselves strong in the faith. 
Avoid those therefore who call themselves 
Apostles, and yet continue in sin. And avoid 
those who take their own spirit for the Holy 
Spirit, whose desire is to destroy what may 
not be destroyed. For upon their self-righteous 
heads are those sects which seize upon a single 


article of faith left clear and simple by the 
Apostles and make it all-important and com- 
plex, like the Baptists, the Bohemian Brothers 
and the Trinitarians." 

Surely in the strenuous warnings with which 
he thus closes the " Opus Paramirum " we hear 
the voice of neither wizard nor charlatan, but 
of a devout believer in God, whose glory man's 
life must either set forth or be wrecked. 

A mystic Paracelsus certainly was. From 
his early acquaintance with neo-platonism he 
developed his spiritual philosophy. It was 
union with God, a union whence the spirit of 
man derived all power to overcome the spirits 
of evil, to understand mysteries, to discover 
the hidden arcana of nature, to know good 
and discern evil, to live within the fortresses 
of the spirit, to see with illumined eyes through 
the mists and the dust-storms of sophistically 
devised and arbitrarily imposed theological and 
ethical systems to the throne of God, where 
wisdom, truth, and righteousness abide. He 
found the hand of God in all nature, in the re- 
cesses of the mountains where the metals await 
His will ; in the vault of heaven where " He 
moves the sun and all the stars " ; in the river 
sped with His bounty of food and drink for 
man ; in the green fields and the forests where 
spring a myriad ministering herbs and fruits ; 
in the springs that pour His healing gifts into 
the laps of the valleys. He saw that the earth 


was God's handiwork and was precious in His 

Professor Strunz, writing of Hohenheim's 
personality, presents him as charged with the 
dynamic force of the new age : 

44 His was a mind of mighty features whose 
rare maturity converted the stating of scientific 
problems into warm human terms, and we 
owe to him the realisation of a cultured 
human community based upon Christian and 
humanitarian piety and faith, which things 
we may well regard as the bases of his teaching 
concerning both the actual and the spiritual. 
His restless life never robbed him of that witch- 
ery which ever and again flushed the immortal 
impulses of his soul like golden sunshine : 
that vision which belongs to the great nature- 
poet. And yet few men of his time recognised, 
as he did, the incalculable result to be attained 
by the empiric-inductive method. In the 
Natural Philosophy of Comenius, a deep and 
gifted soul who in many ways reminds us of 
Paracelsus, there quivers too that sense of the 
charm and joy of nature-research, which tells 
men of the becoming and of the passing away, 
of working and resting, and reveals the precious 
codex of nature in which we read concerning 
God and His Life Eternal. Not within himself 
shall man seek first the interpretation of the 
unity of all human consciousness, but in nature 
itself, where God guides, reason illumines, and 
the senses witness. Is there anything in our 
discernment which sense did not first appre- 


hend ? The nearer our reason to the appre- 
hension of sense, the stronger in realisation, 
the mightier in grasp will our reason be : and 
the further our reason strays from the kernel- 
point of sense perception, the greater are 
its errors and vain fantasies. . . . Paracelsus 
felt like an artist and thought like a mathe- 
matician, just as he combined the laws of nature 
with the laws of the microcosm, that is of man 
with his consciousness, his feelings, and his 
desires. It was this delicate artistic sense 
which proved to be the daring bridge from the 
man Paracelsus to the keen-visioned observer 
of reality, a wondrous viaduct resting upon 
the traverses of the new humanity, the Renas- 
cence. For upon this viaduct moved forward 
that reconstruction of the universe of which 
Paracelsus was one of the greatest architects. 
It was the platform of a spiritual advance, 
completed later by Giordano Bruno, poet, 
philosopher, artist, and student of nature. . . . 
And with this Paracelsus found his religion in 
closest bond. Nature with all her unfathom- 
able wealth and beauty, with her immortal 
types and her obedience to law, was for him the 
gate of medicine, just as love for all who laboured 
and were heavy laden, who rested within God's 
great hospital upon earth, meant for him that 
divine guide who unlocked the treasure-house 
of nature's arcana. The world of Francis of 
Assisi and of Henry Seuse expanded about him : 
again the summer sunlight lay upon the earth, 
again God within and deep love of nature 
became one with the intellectual inspiration of 


a man in earnest. Not only St. Francis in 
tender love and holy poverty, that saint who 
brought about a glorious springtime of Catholi- 
cism without violence no, but that Francis too 
who sang the Canticle of the Sun, stands again 
before us. How should such a man as Paracelsus 
have escaped the touch of mysticism, when even 
a Luther felt its influence ? . . . A feeling for 
nature like a wave issued from Paracelsus and 
reached to men of the future like Comenius 
and Van Helmont. And they too understood 
the consecration of research and the sweet, 
pure note of joy in discovering the laws of 
God. Paracelsus had just that piety which 
to-day we admire in the classic mystics. He 
stood against rationalism and all the fanciful 
religiosities. He saw God in nature just as 
he saw Him in the microcosm and was amazed 
at the reflection of the divine light. His con- 
clusions form the ethics of a Christian humanism. 
The close brotherhood of God's children must 
spring from a well-ordered humanity, from 
human knowledge and from consciousness of 
the unspeakable value of the soul in each of 
its members. This world with its thousand 
forms and potentialities is in its unity and in 
its interdependence the revelation of the laws 
of God : nature is the true helper and friend 
of the sick and infirm, whether rich or poor. 
Nature with her miracles in the field, where 
the sower entrusts his seed to the dear earth 
without so much as guessing how what he hopes 
for will occur : above in the still mountains 
where the old trees die and the new come in 


their place ; in the whispering grove and in 
the hedge, in the lake where the sun plays with 
the water as with precious pearls ; wherever 
the fierce battle between tares and wheat goes 
on in the billowy glory all, all is living nature. 
Paracelsus has enshrined it in pictures and 
similes, allegories and parables. The lapse of 
every year, its coming and its passing, spring- 
time when the new rhythms sway to and fro, 
summer when young life reaches the harvest 
and the husk, and time hastens it to the fruiting, 
autumn when all is done and all is weary, and 
life languishes. How often he has likened his 
pilgrimage to autumn, his life to its full maturity, 
an abundance for the new world." 

I have quoted at length from Dr. Strunz, 
because amongst the great German Paracelsian 
scholars he possesses perhaps the keenest in- 
sight into the character of Hohenheim, a char- 
acter in which simplicity is combined with 
genius, with heroic veracity, with unclouded 
vision, with a spirit in touch with God. 

As a Christian he listened to the teaching of 
Jesus Christ. Attempts were made by the 
Protestants of his time to claim him for their 
party, and are made by the Catholics of to- 
day to present him as a Catholic. To me it 
seems that while he abjured the fetters of the 
old historical ecclesiasticism, he dissented from 
the new limitations of Protestantism. He 
stood free from both and looked to Jesus Christ 
alone for guidance, 


" Every fool," he wrote, " praises his own 
club ; he who stands on the Pope stands on 
a cushion ; he who stands on Zwingli stands 
on emptiness ; he who stands on Luther 
stands on a water-pipe." 

Professors Sudhoff and Schubert are of opinion 
that at first, when he returned from his earlier 
travels full of the new science and the new 
medicine which he had to proclaim, he found 
amongst the reformers a readier acceptance of 
his views than amongst the Catholics, and that 
their greater open-mindedness disposed him to- 
wards their doctrines and all the more because 
as a student of the Bible he was aware of the 
Catholic aberration both ecclesiastical and 
doctrinal from Christ's teaching concerning the 
Kingdom of God. These writers fix the period 
of his leaning towards Protestantism as lasting 
to about 1531, but it is now known that he was 
doing evangelistic work in Switzerland for three 
years later and that this excited an outburst 
of persecution from the priests. It is apparent, 
however, that he drew farther and farther 
aloof from both parties and found that pure 
religion and undefiled consists in the daily 
walk with God and in neither Pope, Priest, 
nor Presbytery. We know that he never for- 
mally disconnected himself from the Catholic 
Church, and that he was buried as a member 
of its communion. But that he reserved his 
right of judgment in matters spiritual cannot 


be gainsaid. His writings contain many apt 
criticisms of sacerdotalism in both parties and 
many misgivings concerning the new tenets 
of the reformers. After 1531 he seems to have 
developed far more than previously his theo- 
logical views, for he was occupied with questions 
of doctrine, faith, and sacrament from that time 

No doubt the dissensions which broke out 
in the 'thirties between Lutherans and Zwing- 
lians considerably modified his opinion of both, 
and led him to the conclusion that as such 
dissensions were hostile to the establishment 
of God's Kingdom, neither Pope, Luther, nor 
Zwingli had grasped the quintessence of Christ's 
teaching. In such dissensions he saw only 
the impatience of one leader against the doctrine 
of the other, only the absence of spiritual unity, 
only the hostility amounting to personal hatred 
which some trivial variance of expression ex- 
cited. Indeed he went so far as to call Lutherans 
and Zwinglians " sects clad in gospel cloaks," 
and accused them of wresting Christ's words 
from His meaning and twisting them to the 
meaning which they desired. In one of his 
later discourses, "Sermo in Similitudinis," he 
wrote : 

" In fine, whether they be papists, Lutherans, 
baptists, Zwinglians, they are all of them ready 
to glory in themselves as alone possessing the 
Holy Spirit and alone justified in their con- 


struction of the Gospel : and each cries, ' / 
am right, right is with me, I speak the word 
of God, Christ and His words are what / tell 
you : after me all of you, it is / who bring you 
the Gospel.' And yet it was just that which 
was the sin of the Pharisees. ... It is a sin 
against the Holy Ghost to say : the Pope, 
Luther, Zwingli, etc., are the Word of God, 
or speak to us from Christ, or are they who 
represent Christ, are His prophets, are His 
apostles : he who holds and esteems their 
discourse as the Word of God sins against the 
Holy Ghost. . . . Thou hearest not what Christ 
says, but only what they say." 

Fierce as those of the Hebrew prophets are 
his invectives against synods, councils, syna- 
gogues, and church assemblies, against the mo- 
nastic orders, against superstitions, pilgrimages, 
ceremonials, all the hypocritical occultism of 
so-called holiness. " God requires from us our 
heart," he says in his treatise on " Invisible 
Diseases," " and not ceremonials, for with these 
faith in Him perishes." " If we seek God we 
must go forth, for in the Church we find Him 

He takes firm footing on the life and the 
teaching of our Lord, for there is the only foun- 
dation for our creed : 

" It is there, in the Eternal Life described 
by the Evangel and in the Scriptures that we 
find all we need : no syllable is wanting in 


that." " In Christ only is salvation, and as we 
believe in Him so through Him we are saved. 
No worship of the saints is needed for that, no 
idol of our imagination. Faith in God and in 
His only begotten Son Jesus Christ is enough 
for us. Our fasts, our masses, our vigils, and 
the like effect nothing for us. What saves us 
is the mercy of God who forgives us our sins. 
Love and faith are one, for love comes through 
faith and true Christianity is revealed in love 
and in the works of love." 

Much of this lucid reasoning is to be found 
in the theological and religious treatises dis- 
covered in 1899 and authenticated by Dr. 
Sudhoff. More particularly in his treatise on 
the Epistle of St. James does Paracelsus insist 
on the practical works of Christianity, for 
" faith without works is dead." He contends 
that the Lutherans have accentuated the im- 
portance of faith to the detriment of that of 

What Hohenheim wanted was reformation 
of the human and acceptance of the divine 
conception of religion. He desired neither the 
domination of a human sacerdotal authority 
nor the domination of the Bible as interpreted 
textually by limited and varying human in- 
telligence, but the domination of God revealed 
by the Holy Spirit in the person, teaching, and 
sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of 
God, which involved the brotherhood of men, 


was the pearl of great price, which Christ had 
shown to the world and had bidden men sell all 
that they had to secure. He believed that per- 
fection in the spiritual life was God's design 
for all men, not for a few hermits, nor for a 
few monks and nuns, who had no warrant 
from God to assume the exclusive externalities 
of a holiness which but few of them attained. 
God had created men for His world, and in the 
world He claimed their faith and love both 
for Himself and for their fellows. If God were 
in very deed accepted as King of His own world, 
there would be an end of hypocrisy in the rays 
of righteousness. But the Kingdom of God 
contains in closest relationship with our life 
of faith and love a multitude of mysteries 
which the searching soul may discover one by 
one. They are the mysteries of God's provi- 
dence which he who seeks shall find : the mys- 
teries of union with God, the secret tabernacle 
at whose gate to him who knocks it shall be 
opened. And the men who seek and knock 
are the prophets and the healers of His King- 
dom, for to them are delivered its keys, the keys 
which unlock the treasuries of earth and heaven. 
And these are the shepherds, the guides, the 
apostles of the world. 

" Medicine is founded upon nature, nature 
herself is medicine, and in her only shall men 
seek it. And nature is the teacher of the 
physician, for she is older than he and she is 


within men just as she is outside of men. So 
he is blessed who reads the books which God 
Himself has written and walks in the ways which 
He has made. Such men are true, perfect, and 
faithful members of their calling, for they walk 
in the full daylight of knowledge and not in 
the dark abyss of error. . . . For the mysteries 
of God in nature are great : He works where 
He will, as He will and when He will. There- 
fore must we seek, knock, and ask. And the 
question arises, what sort of man shall he be 
who seeks, knocks, and asks ? How genuine 
must be such a seeker's sincerity, faith, purity, 
chastity, truth, and mercifulness. . . . Let no 
doctor say this sickness is incurable. He denies 
God our Creator ; he denies nature with her 
abundance of hidden powers ; he depreciates 
the great arcana of nature and the mysteries 
of creation. It is just in the worst sicknesses 
that God is praised, not in the cure of trivial 
indispositions. There is no disease so great 
that He has not provided its cure." 

In touching upon the occultism ascribed to 
Paracelsus it is necessary to avoid many pitfalls 
into which the student of his doctrines may 
stumble by accepting too readily those mystical 
traditions which in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries gathered round his memory. 
His name became a credential for the books of 
necromancers and hermetists, who appealed in 
those days of superstitious belief in wizardry 
and witchcraft to the terror which their squalid 

1536] ELEMENTALS 271 

records inspired. He was accused of their 
own dark rites and malignant practices and his 
name was blackened by their own infamy. 
We may unhesitatingly refuse to accept their 
usurpation of his authority. All that was base, 
malignant, and diabolical he rejected in no 
obscure terms. His practice of telepathic and 
hypnotic powers, his exercise of healing mag- 
netism, were sufficient to invest his name with 
magical reputation quite apart from any genuine 
evidence. But there was a residue of half- 
questioning faith in a number of unseen forces 
not all arcane and medicinal. There survived 
in him an admission of elemental beings, spirits 
of fire, which he called acthnici ; of air, nenu- 
fareni ; of water, melosince ; and of earth, 
pigmaci. Besides these, imps, gnomes, and hob- 
goblins had a place in his inheritance from the 
teutonic realms of faerie. Dryads he knew as 
durdales, familiar spirits as flagce. He believed 
in the astral body of man and called it even- 
trum ; in the astral bodies of plants or leffas ; 
in levitation, or mangonaria ; in clairvoyance, 
or nectromantia ; in wraiths, omens, and phan- 
tasms. It is, however, very possible that the 
book ascribed to him, on these uncanny relics 
of paganism, published in 1566 by Marcus 
Ambrosius Nissensis and dedicated to Con- 
stantine Farber at Dantzic, under the title of 
4 Ex Libro de Nymphis, Sylvanis, Pygmses, 
Salamandris et Gigantibus," etc., may not have 


been his at all; it is given as an abstract of 
his writings on the subject, is somewhat ar- 
bitrarily arranged, and is prefaced by a dedica- 
tion which is not only full of errors, but suggests 
as well a very vague acquaintance with Hohen- 
heim's books. 

Much more interesting was his work in amu- 
lets, because it indicates his apprehension of 
the mighty force of electricity. He combined 
metals to form healing amulets, one of the most 
effective of which he called the Electrum Magi- 
cum. It was compounded of seven metals 
and was used for rings and mirrors. His 
amulets took the place of gnostic gems and 
of talismans ascribed to planetary influence 
and engraved with celestial signs and cabal- 
istic characters. One might almost gather 
that he used the mediaeval craving for magical 
healing and diverted it to the employment 
of genuine and efficacious means, disguised as 

Precious stones he also accounted valuable 
for healing. The charms in which these were 
set were called Gamathei. Each had its own 
virtue. One of his favourite stones was 
what is called bezoar, which is not a product 
of either mountain or mine but is formed 
in the stomach of herbivorous animals, 
generally semi-wild, by concentric or else 
rayed accretions of phosphates of lime, 
ammonia, or magnesia round some small 


object which has proved indigestible and can- 
not be ejected. 

His views on precious stones were adopted 
by the Rosicrucians, who elaborated physical 
and spiritual interpretations of the occult 
powers of diamond, sapphire, amethyst, and 



As yet men cannot do without contempt ; 
"Tis for their good, and therefore fit awhile 
That they reject the weak and scorn the false 
Rather than praise the strong and true in me. 

THE publication of Hohenheim's " Greater Sur- 
gery " restored to him the fame depreciated 
by academic and sacerdotal cabals. About 
ten years had elapsed since these cabals began, 
and the children of that time were now men 
with minds more open and desire for new know- 
ledge more eager than when he lectured in 
Basel. Two editions of his book appeared in 
rapid succession, and these detained him in 
Augsburg till early in 1537. After their issue 
and that of several editions of his " Prognos- 
tications," Paracelsus left for Eferdingen, on 
the Danube near Linz, to visit Dr. Johann von 
Brandt, a famous cleric and jurist, whose friend- 
ship he valued. During this visit he was busily 
engaged with the third part of his " Greater 
Surgery," but was interrupted by a summons 
in spring to go to Kromau, where Johann von 
der Leipnik, Chief Hereditary Marshal of Bo- 


1537] AT KROMAU 275 

hernia, required his professional care. Success 
had supplied him with money, and he could 
equip himself suitably for this journey with 
horse, saddle and riding gear, coat, mantle, hat, 
boots and spurs. 

The Marshal was very ill and required a 
lengthy attendance, and Hohenheim remained 
at Kromau long enough to finish the third 
volume of the " Greater Surgery," which he 
dedicated in the first instance to Dr. Johann 
von Brandt ; to write the first book of his 
4 Philosophise Sagax," to add further parts 
and begin a fourth, and to compose the German 
edition of his famous " Seven Defences," be- 
fore leaving. Probably he spent the larger 
part of the summer of 1537 at Kromau. The 
symptoms and phases of the Marshal's illness 
exacted much time and attention. At first 
Paracelsus was horrified by the condition to 
which his ignorant medical attendants had re- 
duced him. His body was wasted and ema- 
ciated, and Hohenheim almost despaired of 
its restoration to even a measure of health. 
The physician who had sent him an account of 
the case had so misrepresented it that Paracel- 
sus told him he would not have come had he 
known the truth, for the chance of recovery 
was very doubtful. It was the result of an 
irregular life aggravated by medical maltreat- 
ment. He took it in hand, however, but as he 
could not remain indefinitely, he wrote out 


his diagnosis in detail, including symptoms 
of four internal and several external maladies, 
with their causes and probable effects. To this 
he added a careful account of what means must 
be taken not only to mitigate their immediate 
violence, but to restore him and preserve him 
from future attacks. 

He utilised most of the observations made 
during his attendance in the third part of his 
" Greater Surgery." As his circumstances now 
permitted him to employ an amanuensis, the 
summer months of 1537 were notable for greater 
literary activity. He dictated all the books 
already mentioned and probably the " Laby- 
rinthus Medicorum Errantium." Having done 
what he could for the Hereditary Marshal, 
he asked his permission to leave for Vienna, 
where he hoped to find a publisher for his " De- 
fensiones " and for the " Labyrinthus." These 
two manuscripts he took with him, leaving 
behind him a whole boxful of others, some of 
which he had brought from Augsburg and 
Eferdingen. He journeyed to Vienna on horse- 
back by the valley of the March to Pressburg, 
where he rested. A note in the City Chamber- 
lain's account-book fixes a date of his stay if 
not of his arrival. On Friday before Michael- 
mas, he was entertained at a banquet of honour 
by the City Recorder, Blasius Beham, and this 
took place at the end of September, 1537. 
The Archivarius Johann Batka entered the 

1537] IN VIENNA 277 

items of this banquet : fish, pastry, roast, 
wine, rolls, groats, milk, eggs, vegetables, parsley, 
butter, fruit and cheese. Even the cook's 
wage is recorded, 24 pfennigs. His fame was 
in men's mouths and he was received with 

But in Vienna the doctors exhibited a pitiful 
jealousy, or it may be a pitiful cowardice, for 
they avoided him. Probably his " Greater Sur- 
gery " confounded their professional practices, 
and as it was steadily acquiring a European 
renown, their ignorance took refuge in flight 
from his presence. Some of the younger men 
sought him and he was hospitably received by 
the citizens, amongst whom he effected some 
well-paid cures and spent the fees handsomely 
in entertainments to his friends. King Ferdin- 
and, to whom he had dedicated the " Greater 
Surgery," sent for him twice and wished him 
to meet his own physicians, but Paracelsus ex- 
plained to the King that it would be better to 
leave them alone, seeing they did not desire 
his knowledge and he did not desire theirs. 

In Vienna no one would accept his manu- 
scripts for publication. The title of one of 
them and the contents of both alarmed the 
publishers, who would have found themselves 
at odds with the whole medical profession had 
they issued his invectives. None the less he 
enjoyed his lengthened stay in the imperial 


The " Labyrinth of Lost Physicians " was 
not published till 1553, twelve years after Ho- 
henheim's death, when it appeared at Nurem- 
berg in a very imperfect condition, bound up 
with Latin lines in praise of medicine and rather 
described than given as he wrote it. What 
gives this version interest is a fine wood-cut of 
Paracelsus described by Dr. Sudhoff as follows : 

" The formidable countenance is turned 
slightly towards the left shoulder ; the head, 
almost quite bald, shows the finely moulded 
brow and the suture ; over the ears there are 
scanty locks of curling hair. His simple dress 
shows the shirt frill ; on the right side is a cord 
from which hangs a curved tassel ; his right 
hand rests upon the cross-bar, his left upon 
the knob of his sword-handle. The background 
is an arched window overgrown with moss, 
in the curve of which the date 1552 is engraved ; 
while above on a shield are the words Alter ius 
Nonsit qui sum esse Potest. It is doubtless 
drawn from Augustin Hirschvogel's original 
wood-cut of 1540." 

Huser's editions include the " Labyrinth,' * 
and in 1599 there was a new edition of the 
Nuremberg version. 

Towards the end of 1537, Paracelsus journeyed 
down to Villach in Carinthia and stayed about 
nine months in the little town and its neigh- 
bourhood, which he had last visited on his way 
from Venice to Wirtemberg eleven years earlier. 

1538] AT VILLACH 279 

It is just possible that he did not know his 
father was dead until he received the news at 
Vienna, and it may even be that the restoration 
of his fame and the success of his " Greater 
Surgery ' gave him an impulse to visit his 
father, and that he first heard of his death 
when he arrived at Villach. In either case the 
magistrates must have been relieved to fulfil 
their obligations in the matter of his father's 
will. Whatever were the circumstances at- 
tending his homecoming, it must have been 
sad for him. The property bequeathed to 
him was handed over, and as the business for- 
malities incurred delay, he accepted a temporary 
post under the Fugger administration as metal- 
lurgist. The managers were on the outlook 
for gold in addition to the lead and silver for 
which the Lavanthal was already celebrated. 
Paracelsus made a careful study of the mineral 
resources of Carinthia and particularly of the 
brooks and rivers with their spoil of metals 
from the mountains. He found good reason 
to believe in the presence of gold, " fine solid 
gold, good and pure which had been found by 
miners in the past and was to be found in the 
present." His researches resulted in a book, 
which he wrote during August, 1538, and dedi- 
cated to the States of the Archduchy of Carin- 
thia, and in which he makes mention of the 
numberless medicines to be found amongst 
its waters, minerals, and plants, for the cure 


especially of gouty diseases. He sent this 
" Chronicle of Carinthia " along with three 
other writings to the States, requesting them to 
procure their publication. One of the others 
was the treatise finished at Kromau, on diseases 
produced by acidity, such as gout, stone, gravel, 
etc., which he called " The Tartaric Diseases " ; 
another was the " Labyrinth of Lost Physicians " ; 
and the third his famous " Defensiones " 
" against the calumnies of his ill-wishers." 

He was staying at St. Veit, some little dis- 
tance from Villach, when this took place, and 
the date of his dedication of the " Chronicle 
of Carinthia " to the States was August 19, 
1538. A fortnight later he received a letter 
of thanks " from those of their members as- 
sembled at Klagenfurt, to the noble and famous 
Aureolus Theophrastus von Hohenheim, Doctor 
of both medicines, our very good friend and 
dear Master," in which he was assured that the 
Archduchy itself would see to the early printing 
and publication of his books. But unfortunately 
the States contented themselves with this 
promise. It was not till 1563, twenty-two 
years after Hohenheim's death, that the treatise 
on " Tartaric Diseases " was published at 
Konigsberg by Johann Daubmann and at Basel 
by Adam von Bodenstein, while the first un- 
satisfactory edition of the " Labyrinth " was, 
as we have seen, printed at Nuremberg in 1553. 
A better edition of the " Tartaric Diseases " 




After an engraving by Hirschvogel from a portrait taken at Laibach or Vienna, 

when he was forty-seven years old. 
p. 280] 


appeared at Cologne, published by the suc- 
cessors of Arnold Byrckmann, a quarter of a 
century after the promise given to their author. 
In the same year, 1564, three books together, 
" The Chronicle of Carinthia " with its full dedi- 
cation to the nobles of the Archduchy, " The 
Labyrinth of Lost Physicians," and the " Tar- 
taric Diseases," were issued at Cologne by the 
same publishers. 

Paracelsus was at Laibach in Carniola to- 
wards the end of 1538, and met there Augustin 
Hirschvogel or Hirsvogel, who made a portrait 
of him and reproduced it as an engraving. 
This portrait was the original from which nearly 
all the later wood-cuts and engravings of Para- 
celsus were taken. One of these has already 
been noticed. It has been surmised that Hirsch- 
vogel wanted it for reproduction in a " flying- 
sheet." And it was certainly so appropriated, 
but as in itself it was a fine and sympathetic 
likeness, it became one of the most representa- 
tive and characteristic of his portraits and was 
copied with or without additions and alterations 
for more than a century. Hirschvogel himself 
readapted it in 1540, and of this form Dr. Aberle 
gives the following details : 

" Hirschvogel's engraving differs from the 
copies in the presence of the pedestal of a pillar 
which rises behind Hohenheim's right arm, 
its cornice on a level with his eyes. Behind 
the pillar a narrow wall rests against the pedes- 


tal. In touch with the upper part of the pillar 
and reaching along the breadth of the engraving 
is a transverse tablet bearing in decorative, 
double-lined lettering the inscription : 


Beneath the portrait is a second tablet, of 
greater depth, on the upper edge of which 
Hohenheim's left arm rests, and on which we 
read the faulty title and the second of his favour- 
ite mottoes : 






As we know, a very coarse and ungainly 
wood-cut adapted from this was used by Huser 
as frontispiece to each volume of his edition 
of Hohenheim's works. The features are strik- 
ing and the contour of chin and cheek is delicate 
and refined. The mouth is small, firm, and 
closely shut. The brow rises in a majestic 
curve. The head is bald but for some curling 
locks at the sides. In the large and deep-set 
eyes dwells a settled melancholy. He wears 
a plain coat over a gathered shirt finished at 
the neck by a small ruffle of lace. His right 
hand grasps the knob, his left the cross-handle 
of his sword, about which so many legends 
were woven, as that within its handle he kept 
a fiend in bondage to do his bidding, or hid 


there his treasured labdanum, or that the 
sword leapt to do his bidding. 

Ah, trusty Azoth, leapest 
Beneath they master's grasp for the last time. 

Whilst resident at St. Veit, Paracelsus prac- 
tised medicine with great success. He was sent 
to prescribe for many invalids whom the doctors 
had brought to their last gasp and then given 
up. His treatment so discredited their ignor- 
ance and recklessness that the old professional 
jealousy broke out around him. One of his 
patients was the King of Poland's physician, 
Albert Basa, who travelled to St. Veit to con- 
sult him. Another whom the doctors had 
abandoned sent for him. He prescribed and 
invited him to dinner for the next day. The 
medicine worked wonders and the invalid dined 
cheerfully with his doctor twenty-four hours 
later. So fiercely raged the spite of his pro- 
fessional foes, whom he had pilloried in his 
" Chronicle of Carinthia," that on one occasion 
when he went to church at Villach they assem- 
bled from all parts of the country, from Styria 
and Carniola as well as Carinthia, and filled the 
courtyard of the church for the purpose of in- 
sulting and hustling him as he passed in and out. 
It was a strange scene in the Tabor, as such 
a court was called, for every church in these 
countries had been fortified to shelter women 
and children inside, while old men and boys 


manned the Tabor against their Turkish enemies. 
On the one side barbaric cowardice, on the other 
the tranquillity of old acquaintance with the 
malignity which underlies stupidity. 

He wandered for two years longer. We 
know very little of where he went and of what 
he did, but realise that he was visiting patients 
and writing his last books. He was in Augs- 
burg and Munich, probably in 1539, then again 
in Villach, then at Gratz in Austrian Silesia, 
afterwards at Breslau, and for some time in 
Vienna, where Hirschvogel revised his portrait. 
He did not make his way to Salzburg till after 
this second and prolonged visit to Vienna. 

It was in 1541 when he started on horseback 
for Salzburg, via Ischl, but he took months on 
the journey, halting where he listed and pro- 
bably no longer able for lengthened stages. 
One of his resting places was Schober, now 
called Strobl, on the northern shore of the 
beautiful Fuschlsee. Here he stayed in April, 
1541, with a friend, and hence he wrote to 
Jakob Tollinger, who seems to have been a 
very special friend, sympathetic both in char- 
acter and in faith. He sent him medical advice 
and two special recipes and a letter which ended 
with the very unusual message : " Give my 
best greetings to your wife and daughter and 
may God's grace be with us all." These ladies 
were rarely favoured, for Paracelsus resolutely 
avoided women. 

1541] THE FINAL STAGE 285 

It must have been May before he reached 
Salzburg, his last travelling stage. The theory 
that he was appointed special physician to the 
Prince-Archbishop, Ernst, Duke of Bavaria 
and Count Palatine, has been abandoned, al- 
though there is reason to believe that he received 
honourable welcome from the Prince and his 

What we know about the months before 
Hohenheim's death amounts to very little. 
On August 5 he wrote a letter to Franz Boner 
in Cracow. This Polish gentleman had been 
advised to consult him, probably by Dr. Albert 
Basa. He sent a special messenger to Salz- 
burg to explain his malady ; to the house at 
the corner of the Platzl, on the right bank of 
the river Salzach. The man was instructed to 
wait for the great physician's diagnosis and 
advice. Paracelsus gave both, but indicated 
that the disease was of too long standing for 
cure. Several letters passed between them, 
but he warned the patient that in spite of the 
remedies suggested it was not possible for him 
to throw off the disease. He blamed Boner's 
doctors for their foolish diagnosis. 

He was himself suffering from an insidious 
disease, one not altogether resulting from his 
restless life of pilgrimage and strenuous work. 
He had, as we know, compounded his medicines 
for many years. Herbs and minerals contri- 
buted their quintessences to his tinctures, 


amongst them antimony, mercury, opium, night- 
shade, monkshood, and other poisons. He 
worked with these dangerous substances and 
it is conjectured that a slow poisoning pro- 
cess had long been at work, due to the fumes 
of their decoction and distillation. It is certain 
that his health had undergone a great deteriora- 
tion. His cheeks were pale and hollow, his 
lips pinched and compressed, in his eyes was 
the sadness of unintermitted suffering. Hirsch- 
vogel's engraving of 1540 shows every symp- 
tom. He had never taken rest, not even the 
nightly rest which a day's labour or travelling 
demands. " Rest is better than restlessness," 
he had once written, " but restlessness is more 
profitable than rest." It was the more pro- 
fitable that he sought, knowledge, truth, and 
wisdom, not gold, nor rank, nor comfort. He 
had sought them all his life, from the days when 
he ran beside his father over the meadows and 
by the river-banks at the Sihl-bridge. Now his 
travelling days were ended. 

Many legends have been invented about his 
death : one that the doctors of Salzburg had 
hired a ruffian to follow him in the dark and 
to bludgeon him from behind, or to fling him 
down the rocks ; another that they had given 
him treacherous draughts of poisoned wine, 
or sifted powdered glass into his beer. But 
thanks to Dr. Aberle's testimony we may dis- 
miss these ugly surmises. What is certain is 


that day by day the subtle disease progressed 
and that he braced himself to meet the invincible 
master whom it heralded. For some weeks 
he studied, paid professional visits, or gave 
medical advice in his own house. He had fur- 
nished his workroom with a great fireplace on 
a flat stone hearth just opposite the door, with 
shelves and tables and all the requisites of a 
laboratory, bellows, tongs, pincers, crucibles, 
vases, retorts, and alembics, with herbs and 
minerals, and had installed himself ready for 
consultations, for chemical experiments, for 
setting down their results. He was engaged, 
too, in writing his meditations upon the spiritual 
life. One fragment of these was that " Con- 
cerning the Holy Trinity, written at Salzburg 
in expectation of the Eve of our Dear Lady's 
Nativity," and unfinished. It was published 
by Toxites in 1570. There were also a number 
of passages selected from the Bible and written 
out on loose sheets. 

He was roused from these peaceful occupations 
by the rapid processes of culminating disease. 
Death was stealing in to take away his life. 
He had foreseen the secrecy of death for others 
and surely for himself. The fitting of his little 
home, the turning to rest after restlessness, 
the haste to record his thoughts on the mysteries 
of our faith, all point to foreboding of days 
which God had numbered and to a great longing 
to make the most of them. 


" By night," he had once written, " thieves 
steal when they cannot be seen, and they are 
the cleverest thieves who steal and are not 
seen. So creeps in death when medicine is 
at its darkest, and steals away the life of man, 
his greatest treasure." 

Now, he who had laboured in medicine as in 
a revelation of God's love, and had sought to 
dispel its darkness with " God's Lamp," was 
dying. The hidden ways of God were at work 
and his life was being drawn from him as the 
sun is drawn below the western horizon. He 
recognised the hand that drew and turned 
to it tranquil and aware. There was last 
work to be done. He had possessions, books, 
raiment, medicines. It was incumbent on him 
to see to their just distribution and it was im- 
possible to make satisfactory legal provisions 
in his laboratory at the Platzl. He engaged 
a room at the White Horse Inn in the Kaygasse, 
large enough to serve as both sick-room and 
business-room. He was removed to it before 
St. Matthew's Day, September 21, when the 
public notary, Hans Kalbsohr, and six invited 
witnesses assembled to hear and put into writing 
his last wishes. Another man was present, 
his servant Clauss Frachmaier. 

The six invited witnesses were Melchior Spach, 
judge at Hallein, Andree Setznagel, Hans Miil- 
berger, Ruprecht Strobl, Sebastian Gross, all of 
Salzburg, and Steffan Waginger of Reichenthal. 

1541] HIS WILL 289 

Paracelsus was in bed but in a sitting posture. 
The first article of his will after accurate dating 
and designation is as follows : 

" The most learned and honoured Master 
Theophrastus von Hohenheim, Doctor of Art 
and Medicine, weak in body and sitting in a 
camp-bed, but clear in mind and of upright heart 
. . . commits his life, death, and soul to the 
care and protection of Almighty God, in stead- 
fast hope that the Eternal Merciful God will 
not allow the bitter sufferings, martyrdom, and 
death of His only begotten Son, our Saviour 
Jesus Christ, to be fruitless and of no avail 
for him, a miserable man." 

He then gives directions about his burial 
and makes special choice of St. Sebastian's 
Church beyond the bridge, to which his body 
is to be carried and where the first, seventh, 
and thirtieth Psalms are to be sung around it, 
and between the singing of each psalm a penny 
is to be given to every poor man who is in front 
of the church. The choice of psalms was 
characteristic his confession of faith that his 
life should not perish, but should inherit immor- 
tality : 

" He shall be like a tree planted by the water- 
side : that will bring forth his fruit in due 
season. His leaf also shall not wither : and 
look, whatsoever he doeth, it shall prosper." 

" My help cometh of God : who preserveth 


them that are true of heart. ... I will give 
thanks unto the Lord, according to his righteous- 
ness : and I will praise the Name of the Lord 
most High." 

" 1 will magnify thee, O Lord, for thou hast 
set me up : and not made my foes to triumph 
over me. . . . Heaviness may endure for a 
night, but joy cometh in the morning. . . . 
Lord, be thou my helper. Thou hast turned my 
heaviness into joy. ... O my God, I will give 
thanks unto thee for ever." 

After these directions come the legacies. To 
Master Andree Wendl, a citizen and doctor 
of Salzburg, he left all his medical books, im- 
plements, and medicines to be used by him while 
he lived. All his other goods and possessions, 
with the exception of some small money be- 
quests, he left " to his heirs, the poor, miser- 
able, needy people, those who have neither 
money nor provision, without favour or dis- 
favour : poverty and want are the only qualifi- 
cations " : his debts were to be paid first. 
He named his executors, who were Masters 
Georg Teyssenperger and Michael Setznagel, 
to each of whom he left twelve guldens in coin 
and to each of the witnesses he left twelve 
guldens. After due legal phraseology for con- 
firming the will, the witnesses, including his 
servant Clauss, set their names to the document 
and Master Hans Kalbsohr wound up appropri- 
ately with his declaration and signature. 


This will tells us that his property was in 
various places, as two boxes full of books and 
manuscripts at Augsburg, one at Kromau, and 
other personal belongings at Leoben and various 
places in Carinthia, probably at Villach and 
St. Veit. 

He lived only three days after this his last 
labour was accomplished. Probably he died 
in the Gasthaus zum Weissen Ross. It is 
certain that he was never in the Hospital of 
St. Sebastian. He had no fear of death. Death 
was his " day's work ended and God's harvest- 
time. Man's power over us ends at death, 
and only God deals with us then, and God is 

If I stoop 

Into a dark tremendous sea of cloud, 
It is but for a time ; I press God's lamp 
Close to my breast ; its splendour soon or late 
Will pierce the gloom ; I shall emerge one day. 

The date of his death was September 24, 1541. 
It was St. Rupert's festival, a very popular 
one in Salzburg, which fell on a Saturday in 
that year. A decree prevailed already as a 
custom, which was shortly afterwards made 
peremptory, that not more than twenty-four 
hours might elapse between death and burial. 
Hohenheim's body was borne to St. Sebastian's 
church at once and interred during the after- 
noon of the 24th, in its churchyard, in the middle 
of which his grave was dug. The town was 


crowded with country people and visitors. The 
Prince Archbishop ordained that the funeral 
of the great physician and scientist should 
be celebrated with all solemnity. Paracelsus 
had chosen to be laid in the burial-place of 
the poor, and doubtless many oj the poor were 
there to bid their friend farewell and to receive 
what he had bequeathed to them. The Prince's 
mandate would suffice to secure honourable 
observance to his obsequies, but we should like 
to know that the lauds he chose were sung 
around him in the church. His apostolic in- 
dependence was not known at Salzburg, for 
his treatises were not printed till long after his 
death, and he was held for orthodox and 
buried as he desired in ground consecrated to 
the poor. 

The books with which he was mainly occupied 
before his death belonged to scriptural study ; 
they were a small Bible, a New Testament, 
" Concordia Bibliorum," and Jerome's " Interpre- 
tationes super Evangelia." Some religious medi- 
tations, interrupted, and seven medical treatises 
composed his last writings. His wardrobe was 
found to be very full. After the publication 
of his " Greater Surgery," he must have al- 
lowed himself ampler expenditure, more variety 
of clothes, coats of velvet and damask, mantles, 
riding-gear. His famous sword is not mentioned 
in the inventory and we do not know to whom 
it was bequeathed. 


Fifty years later his grave was opened, his 
bones were taken out and put in a new resting- 
place against the wall of St. Sebastian's Church. 
The middle of the churchyard was wanted as a 
site for the Gabriel Chapel. Hohenheim's exe- 
cutor, Michael Setznagel, had placed a slab 
of red marble on the grave with a memorial 
inscription. This tablet was transferred. Its 
inscription is in Latin, which roughly trans- 
lated runs : 








Beneath this inscription is chiselled the coat 
of arms of the Bombasts von Hohenheim and 
below it are the words : "to the living Peace, 
to the sepulchred Eternal Rest." 

But to Paracelsus, sepulchred again and again, 
even death brought no rest, for many a time 
his bones were removed. The second time 
was in 1752, more than two centuries after 
their first interment, when Archbishop Andreas 
von Dietrichstein erected a marble pyramid 
on a pedestal of marble, into which the old red 
tablet was inserted, and placed it in the church 
porch. On the pinnacle rests an urn, but his 


bones were put in a niche of the obelisk and 
shut in by a little door of sheet-iron, on which 
it was desired to paint a portrait of Paracelsus, 
but by some blunder his father's portrait was 
substituted, a blunder only discovered in 1869 
by Professor Seligmann. 

To this day the poor pray there. Hohen- 
heim's memory has " blossomed in the dust " 
to sainthood, for the poor have canonised him. 
When cholera threatened Salzburg in 1830, 
the people made a pilgrimage to his monu- 
ment and prayed him to avert it from their 
homes. The dreaded scourge passed away 
from them and raged in Germany and the rest 
of Austria. 

Earlier in that century Hohenheim's bones 
had again been disturbed, this time by Dr. 
Thomas von Sommering, who got permission 
to examine the skull. He discovered the wound 
at its back on which the myth of his violent 
assassination was founded. It was said that he 
was flung down from a height amongst the 
rocks, and that his neck was broken and his 
skull shattered. Fifty years later, Dr. Aberle 
controverted it by successive examinations of the 
bones in 1878, 1881, 1884, and 1886, the results 
of which he has detailed in his valuable book 
" Grabdenkmal Schadel und Abbildungen des 
Theophrastus Paracelsus " (Salzburg, 1891). 

He points out that had Paracelsus died of a 
broken neck, he could not possibly have dictated 

1878-86] EXAMINATIONS 295 

his will, as he certainly did in the presence of 
seven witnesses. Clear indications of rickets were 
discovered as one result of these examinations, 
and to its action Dr. Aberle ascribes the curving 
and thickening of his skull and its consequent 
deterioration in the grave. 


Theologorum Patrono Eximio domino Erasmo 
Roterodamo vndicunque doctissimo suo optimo. 

Que mihi sagax musa et Alstoos tribuit medica, 
candide apud me clamant Similium ludiciorum mani- 
festus sum Auctor. 

Regio epatis pharmacijs non indiget, nee alie due 
species indigent Laxatiuis, Medicamen est Magistrale 
Archanum potius ex re confortatiua, specifica et melleis 
abstersiuis id est consolidatiuis, In defectum epatis 
essentia est, et que de pinguedine renum medicamina 
regalia sunt perite laudis. Scio corpusculum Mesuaijcas 
tuum non posse sufferre colloquintidas, nee Aliquot 
[aliquod] turbidatum seu minimum de pharmaco Scio 
me Aptiorem et in Arte mea peritiorem, et scio que 
corpusculo tuo valeant in vitam longam, quietam et 
sanam, non indiges vac[u]ationibus. 

Tertius morbus est vt apertius Loquar, que materia 
seu vlcerata putrefactio seu natum flegma vel Accident- 
ale colligatum, vel si fex vrinae, vel tartarum vasis vel 
Mucillago de reliquijs e spermate, vel si humor nutriens 
viscosus vel bithuminosa pinguedo resoluta vel quicquid 
huiusmodi sit, quando de potentia salis (in quo coagu- 
landi vis est) coagulabitur quemadmodum in silice, in 
berillo potius, similis est hec generatio, que non in te 
nata perspexi, sed quicquid ludicaui de minera frusticu- 
lata Marmorea existente in renibus ipsis iudicium feci 
sub nomine rerum coagulatarum. 

Si optime Erasme Mea praxis specifica tue Excellentie 
placuerit Curo ego vt habeas et Medicum et Medicinam. 




Eei medicae peritissimo Doctori Theophrasto 
Eremitae, Erasmus Roterodamus S[alutem]. 

Non est absurdum, medico, per quern Deus nobis 
suppeditat salutem corporis, animae perpetuam optare 
salutem. Demiror, unde me tam penitus noris, semel 
dum taxat visum. Aenigmata tua non ex arte medica, 
quam nunquam didici, sed ex misero sensu verissima 
esse agnosco. In regione hepatis iam olim sensi dolores, 
nee divinare potui, quis esset mali fons. Renum pin- 
guedines ante complures annos in lotio conspexi. Ter- 
tium quid sit, non satis intelligo, tamen videtur esse 
probabile mini, id molestare ut dixi. Hisce diebus 
aliquot nee medicari vacat, nee aegrotare, nee mori, tot 
studiorum laboribus obruor. Si quid tamen est, quod 
citra solutionem corporis mihi possit lenire malum, rogo 
ut communices. Quod si distraheris, paucissimis verbis 
ea, quae plusquam laconice notasti, fusius explices, 
aliaque praescribas remedia, quae dum vacabit queam 
sumere. Non possum polliceri praemium arti tuae 
studioque par, certe gratum animum polliceor. Froben- 
ium ab inferis revocasti, hoc est dimidium mei, si me 
quoque restitueris, in singulis utrumque restitues. 
Utinam sit ea fortuna, quae te Basileae remoretur. 
Haec ex tempore scripta vereor ut possis legere. Bene 

suapte manu. 



Manes Galeni adversus Theophrastum, sed potius 
Cacophrastum . 

Audi qui nostrae laedis praeconia famae, 

Et tibi sum rhetor, sum modo mentis inops, 
Et dicor nullas tenuisse Machaonis artes, 

Si tenui, expertas abstinuisse manus. 
Quis feret haec ? viles quod nunquam novimus herbas 

Allia nee cepas : novimus helleborum. 
Helleborum cuius capiti male gramma sano 

Mitto, simul totas imprecor anticyras. 
Quid tua sint fateor spagyrica sompnia, Vappa, 

Nescio, quid sit ares, quidve sit yliadus, 
Quidve sit Essatum et sacrum inviolabile Taphneus, 

Et tuus Archaeus, conditor omnigenus. 
Tot nee tanta tulit portentosa Africa monstra, 

Et mecum rabida prelia voce geris ? 
Si iuvat infestis mecum concurrere telis, 

Cur Vendelino turpia terga dabas ? 
Dispeream si tu Hippocrati portare matellam 

Dignus es, aut porcos pascere, Vappa, meos. 
Quid te furtivis iactas cornicula pennis ? 

Sed tua habet falsas gloria parva moras, 
Quid legeres ? stupido deerant aliena palato 

Verba et furtivum destituebat opus. 
Quid faceres demens, palam intus et in cute notus 

Consilium laqueo nectere colla fuit, 
Sed vivamus, ait, nostrum mutemus asylum, 

Impostura nocet, sed nova techna subit, 


lamque novas MACRO cur non faciemus Athenas ? 

Nondum auditorium rustica turba sapit. 
Plura vetant Stygiae me tecum dicere leges, 

Decoquat haec interim, lector amice vale ! 

Ex inferis. 


Aberle, Dr. Carl, "Monument, 
Skull, and Portraiture of Theo- 
phrastus Paracelsus," viii, 17, 
21, 38, 63, 71, 181, 281, 286, 294 

Acthnici or spirits of fire, 271 

Adalbert, Archduke, 8 

Adam, Melchior, 45 

Adriatic, the, 71 

Adrop, meaning of the word, 49 

Agrippa, Cornelius, of Nettesheim, 
240 ; character of his teaching, 

Albula Pass, 230 

Alchemist, simile of the, 191-3 

Alchemy, the use of, 43, 46 

Alcol or animal soul, 54 

Alemannia, Dukes of, 1 

Alkali, various kinds of, 58 

Alp streamlet, 6, 9 

Alsace, 151 

Altendorf , 4 

Altmatt, 1 

Aluech or pure spiritual body, 54 

Amberg, 173 

Ambrose, St., of Milan, his view of 
occultism, 36 

Amerbach, Basil, 91, 149 

Amerbach, Boniface, 149 ; Pro- 
fessor of Law at Basel, 149 ; 
letters from Paracelsus, 149, 152 

Amerbach, Johann, 149 

Amulets, 272 

Anatomy, meaning of the word, 

Andrese, Johann Valentin, Abbot 
of Adelsberg, 251 ; result of his 
fictitious pamphlets, 251 

" Antimedicus," publication of, 

Apothecaries, their carelessness 
and neglect, 94 ; character of 
their medicines, 94, 130 

Appenzel, 223, 224 

Aquinas, Thomas, 247 

ArcheiM, meaning of the word, 54, 
57, 60, 186 

" Archidoxa," 46, 104 

Ares or specific character, 54 

Aristotle, the Stagyrite, his scien 
tine works, 34 

Assisi, Francis of, 262 

Astrology, the study of, 254 

Astrophysics, 204 

Augsburg, 231, 284 

Augsburg, Bishop of, at the con- 
secration of Einsiedeln Church, 

Augsburg, Fuggers of, 32 ; their 
lead mines at Bleiberg, 32, 279 

Averroes, disciple of the Galenic 
system, 36 

Avicenna, disciple of the Galenic 
system, 36 ; his Canon of Medi- 
cine, 96 

Azoth, meaning of the word, 49 

Bacon, Roger, treatment of his 
writings, 30, 52 ; " Opus 
Magus," 30, 36, 39 ; imprison- 
ment, 52, 78 ; fame, 66 

Baden, Philip, Margrave of, hia 
illness and cure, 80, 101 ; treat- 
ment of Paracelsus, 80, 101, 173 

Baden-Baden, mineral springs at, 

Balkan Peninsula, 72 

Bar, Ludwig, leader of the Catho- 
lic Party at Basel, 85 

Basa, Albert, physician to the 
King of Poland, 283 

Basel, 37, 89 ; establishment of 
the Reformation, 83 ; divisions 
on Church questions, 85 

Batka, Archivarius Johann, 276 

Baumgartner, Bishop Erhart or 
Eberhart, 33, 37, 53 

Bavaria, Prince- Archbishop, Ern- 
est, Duke of, 285 




Beham, Blasius, 276 

Bennau, 9 

Benno, or Benedict, repairs the 
hermitage of Einsiedeln, 9 ; 
Bishop of Metz, 9 ; attacked 
and blinded by ruffians, 10 ; 
return to Einsiedeln, 10 

Beratzhausen, 167, 171, 174 

Bernina Pass, 230 

" Bertheonse," 159, 174 

Bezoar stone, formation of, 272 

Bismuth, uses of, 53 

Bleiberg, lead mines at, 32 

Blenheim gallery, portrait of Para- 
celsus in the, 64 

Bodenstein, Adam von, publishes 
the works of Paracelsus, 56, 123, 
180, 280 

Body, the human, the three basic 
substances of, 211 

Boehme, Jacob, 246 

Bohemia, 68, 76 

Bollingen, 3 

Bologna, 66 

Boltz, Dr. Valentine, " Six Come- 
dies of Terence," edited by, 151 

Boner, Franz, letter from Para- 
celsus, 285 ; his malady, 285 

Boner, Hieronymus, 154 ; book 
dedicated to, 155 

Bonstettin, Dean Albrecht von, 
extract from his Chronicle, 15 

Brandenburg, 68 

Brandt, Dr. Johann von, 274 ; 
book dedicated to, 275 

Bremner Pass, 227 

Breslau, 284 

Browning, Robert, his poem ' ' Para- 
celsus," viz, ix. ; lines from, 
41, 87, 138, 214 

Briiel, 9 

Bruno, Giordano, 78, 262 

Biihler, 225 

Burtzli, Dr., 174 

Byrckmann, Arnold, 281 

Calmel, 54 

Cappel, battle of, 177 

Cardano, Girolamo, date of his 
birth, 30 ; at Milan, 66 ; his 
belief in horoscopes, 254 

Carinthia, 31, 278; climate, 34; 
mineral resources, 279 ; " Chron- 
icles of," 279 

Carniola, 34, 68, 70, 281 

Castle Horn, laboratory at, 163 

Castner, Bastian, his treatment of 
Paracelsus, 173 

Celsus, the physician, his work on 

medical treatment, 38 
Celtes, Conrad, 164 
Charles V., Emperor, 71, 76 
Charms against diseases, 258 
Chemists, their occult creeds and 

methods, 44 

Cherio, meaning of the word, 49 
Chloride, discovery of, 54 
Christian II., King of Denmark, 

67 ; acknowledged King of 

Sweden, 67 

" Chronicle of Carinthia," 279, 280 
Colmar, 149, 152 
Cologne, 63, 281 
Comenius, the Natural Philosophy 

of, 261,263 

Comet, appearance of a, 176 
Comrie, Dr. John, his lectures on 

the History of Medicine, x 
" Concerning the Holy Trinity," 

etc., 287 
" Concerning Mercury," treatise 

on, 174 

" Concerning Meteors," 151 
" Concerning the Pfaffers Bath," 

etc., publication of, 229 
" Concerning Wounds and Sores," 

publication of, 174 
Constance, Bishop Conrad of, wit- 
nesses the consecration of Ein- 
siedeln Church, 1 1 
Constance, Lake of, 2 
Constantinople, 72, 76 
Copernicus, 30 
Cornwall, tin mines of, 66 
Croatia, 68 

Cumberland, lead mines of, 66 
Curie, Madame, her discovery of 

polonium, 53 

Dalmatia, 68 

Danube, the, 274 

Daubmann, Johann, 280 

" Defences, Book of," 275, 280 ; 

extracts from, 74, 75 
Denmark, minerals of, 68 
Derses, meaning of the word, 49 
Diederiehs, Eugen, publishes the 

" Paramirum," 182 
Dierauer, Professor, 164 
Dietrichstein, Archbishop Andreas 

von, 293 

" Diseases of Miners," 68 
Diseases, origins of, 183, 191, 217 ; 

names of, 204 ; hereditary and 

specific influences, 21820 ; 

charms against, 258 



3, Origins of Invisible," 
243, 256, 267 
Disentis, Abbot of, 14 
Doberatsch, slope of the, 33 
Doctors, qualifications of, 106-14 
Dorn, Gerard, his Latin transla- 
tion of " Greater Surgery," 233 
Dur dales or dryads, 271 
Diirer, Albrecht, 64 

Eberhard, Abbot of Einsiedeln, 
10 ; builds a church and mon- 
astery, 10 

Eferdingen, 274 

Einsiedeln, church and monastery, 
10; angelic consecration, 11; 
pilgrimages to, 12, 15 ; pictures, 
12,31 ; lines on, 13; burnt down, 
14, 31 ; disasters, 14 ; restora- 
tion, 15 ; aristocratic character, 
15 ; abbots, 16 

Einsiedeln valley, 1 ; hermitage 
6; flora, 24-6 

Electrum Magicum, meaning of the 
term, 272 

Engandine, Upper, 229 

Ennemoser, on the system of Para- 
celsus based on magnetism, 242 ; 
on the Kabbala, 246 

Ensisheim, the fall of a meteoric 
stone at, 151 

Epilepsy, or vitriol-disease, 59 

Erasmus, diagnosis of his illness, 
84 ; his letter to Paracelsus, 84 ; 
friendship for Boniface Amer- 
bach, 149 

Erlebald, 2 ; abbot of Reichenau 
monastery, 3 

Esslingen, 159, 175 

Etzel, 1, 4, 21, 26 

Eventrum, the astral body, 271 

Experience, the knowledge of, 97, 

Fees, payment of, 174 

Felberthauern, 228 

" Felice Liberalitate, De," 238 

Ferdinand, Emperor, books dedi- 
cated to, 231, 232, 234 

Ferrara, 66 

Fiume, 68 

" Five Qualifications of a Doctor," 

Flagce or familiar spirits, 271 

Food, moderation in, 209 

Frachmaier, Clauss, 288 

France, Anatole, 105 

Francis I., King of France, 76 

Franconia, 105 

" Franz, the studious," 100, 157, 


Freiburg-im-Breisgau, 77 
Freiherrenberg heights, 8 
" French Malady," work on, 156, 

166; publication, 167 
Friedrich, Count Palatine, 18 
Fries, Dr. Lorenz, 152 ; his 

" Mirror of Medicine," extract 

from, 153 
Froben, Johann, injury to his foot, 

83 ; treatment and cure, 84 ; 

his death, 131 
Fiigen, Counts of, their mines and 

laboratories at Schwatz, 43 
Fiiger, Sigmund, 44 
Fuschk, 228 
Fuschlsee, 284 

Gais, 225 

Galen, Claudius, his treatises on 
philosophy, 35 ; result of his 
system, 36 

" Galen, The Shade of, against 
Theophrastus," lampoon on, 133 

Galileo, his imprisonment, 78 

Gallon, St., 162, 175; religious 
strife at, 175 ; portrait of Para- 
celsus in the museum, 163 

Gamathei, 272 

Gander, Father Martin, his cata- 
logue of the flora of Einsiedeln, 
24, 26 

Glarus, valley of, 1 

Gold, manufacture of, 252-4 

Goppingen, mineral spring at, 78 

Gothard, St., Pass, 230 

Granada, 66 

Gratz, 284 

" Greater Surgery, Book of the," 
66, 68, 214, 224, 228, 230 ; pub- 
lication, 231, 275 ; titles, 231 ; 
dedication, 231, 232 ; wood- 
cuts, 232 ; number of editions, 
233, 274 ; extracts from, 254 

Gross, Sebastian, 288 

Hacken Pass, 230 

Hartmann, Dr. Franz, his list of 
the vocabulary used by Para- 
celsus, 50 ; on the exercise of 
magical powers, 245 

Hartmann, Dr. R. Julius, " Theo- 
phrast von Hohenheim," ix, 17, 
62, 67, 91, 166, 179, 225 

Heidenberg, Johannes, 39. See 



Herbst, Johannes, 101. See Opor- 

High Etzel, 4, 5 

Hildegard, Abbess, 6 

Hippocrates, the " Father of Medi- 
cine," 34 

Hirschvogel, Augustin, his engrav- 
ing of Paracelsus, 180, 281, 286 

Hohenheira, Count Bombast von, 

Hohenheim, Friedrich von, 18 

Hohenheim, George Bombast von, 

Hohenheim, Theophrastus Bom- 
bast von, 23. See Paracelsus 

Hohenheim, Dr. Wilhelm Bom- 
bast von, his summons to Ein- 
siedeln, 17, 19 ; ancestry, 17-19; 
marriage, 19 ; portrait, 19 ; ap- 
pearance, 20 ; characteristics, 
20 ; position of his house, 21 ; 
birth of his son, 23 ; appointed 
physician at Villach, 31 ; record 
of his life, 31 ; proficiency in 
chemistry, 33 ; laboratory, 33 ; 
his death, 228, 279 

Hohenheim Castle, 18 

Hohenrechberg, Conrad of, Abbot 
of Einsiedeln monastery, 16, 19 

Hohenthauern, 228 

Holbein, Hans, 149 

Hollandus, Isaac, 237 

Homoeopathy, 123 

" Hospital Book," 67 

Howitt, William, on true mysti- 
cism, 37 

Huggins, Lady, on the fulfilment 
of Paracelsus's prediction, 202 

Huggins, Sir William, his work on 
the stellar spectroscopy, 203 

Huntvil, 224 

Huser, his editions of the works 
of Paracelsus, 103, 105, 124, 180, 
181, 228, 229, 235, 249, 278, 282 

Hxitenberg, minerals of, 32 

Huxley, Professor, on the study ot 
science, 239 

Hypnotism, use of, 245 

Ilech Primum, meaning of, 49 
Indulgences, attack on the system 

of, 81 

Ingolstadt, 234 
Inn, valley of the, 226 
Innspriich, 44, 226 
Ireland, missionaries of, 2 
Ischl, 284 
Italy, 66 

John I., Abbot, his restoration of 
Einsiedeln monastery, 15 

Johnson, William, 49 

Judae, Leo, 83, 162 ; his transla- 
tion of the Bible, 83, 176 

Kabbala, the, 246 

Kaiser, a reformer, burned as a 

heretic, 175 
Kalbsohr, Hans, the notary, 288, 


Katzenstein, Castle of, 70 
Kessler, Johannes, 178 
Kromau, 274 
Krymlerthauern, 228 

Labdanum, tincture of, 101 

Laber Valley, 171 

" Labyrinthus Medicorum Erran- 
tium," 276, 280 ; publication, 
278, 281 

Laibach, 281 

Landshut, expedition to, 18 

Laudanum, use of, 100 

Lavantall, 33, 37, 279 

Lead mines at Bleiberg, 32 

Leffas, the astral bodies of plants, 

Leipnik, Johann von der, Chief 
Hereditary Marshal of Bohemia, 
274; his illness, 275; treat- 
ment, 275 

Leo VIII., Pope, 12 

Leprosy, or gold-disease, 59 

Liebenzell, mineral springs at, 78 

Lieber, " Against the New Medi- 
cine of Philip Theophrastus," 

Liechtenfels, Canon, his attack of 
illness, 136 ; treatment of Para- 
celsus, 136, 173 

Linz, 274 

Lisbon, 66 

Lithuania, 68, 77 

" Little Surgery," 155 

Louvre Gallery, portrait of Para- 
celsus in the, 63 

Luther, Martin, date of his birth, 
30 ; his enemies, 88, 146 ; burns 
the Papal Bull and Statutes, 96 ; 
emblem, 250 

Magic, meaning of the word, 49 
Magnetism, experiments in, 73 ; 

theory of, 242, 247 
Maignan, Dr., on Hohenheim'a 

services to science, x, 215 
Malgaigne, M. J. F., 65 



Mangels, J. F., " Biblioteca Chy- 

mica Curiosa," 49 
Mangonaria or levitation, 271 
March, valley of the, 276 
Medicine, the proper use of, 55, 57; 
the bases of, 144 ; power of, 

Meinrad or Meginrat, 2 ; his child- 
hood, 2 ; at school, 2 ; fondness 
for study, 3 ; enters the Order 
of St. Benedict, 3 ; sent to 
Bollingen, 3 : his yearning for 
solitude, 4; hermitage at Eteel, 
5 ; at Einsiedeln, 6 ; mode of 
life, 7 ; murdered, 8 ; burial, 8 

Melancthon, 254 ; his belief in 
astrology, 255 

Melosiruz or spirits of water, 271 

Memmingen, 230 

Meran, 227, 228 

Mercury, use of, 54, 57, 58 ; forms 
of, 212 ; diseases originated by 
corruption, 217 ; metallic, 59 ; 
sulphate of, 54 

Meteoric stone, fall 01, at Ensis- 
heim, 151 

Meteoron, meaning of the term, 187, 

Metz, 9 

Milan, 66 

Militia Critcifera Evangetica, foun- 
dation of the, 250 

Miller, Professor W. A., 203 

Mindelheim, 230 

Mineral springs, 78 ; popularity 
of, 79 

Mirandola, Pico della, 30 

Montpellier, 65 ; Moorish system 
of medical training at, 65 

Moravia, 68 

Morgarten, battle of, 14 

Moritz, St., 229 

Moscow, 72 

Mossl, Herr Josef, 21 

Miilberger, Hans, 288 

Muller, Christian, 105, 180, 229 

Mitmia or magnetic force, 214, 
243, 244 

Munich, 284 

My then mountains, 1, 6 

Naples, 76 

Natural Philosophy, the new sys- 
tem, 50-2 

Neander, Michael, on Paracelsus's 
practical joke of making gold, 

Neckar, valley of the, 2 


Necromancy, evil of, 41, 73, 245, 


Nectromantia or clairvoyance, 271 
Nenufareni or spirits of air, 271 
Neo-platonism, revival of, 240 
Netherlands, fighting in the, 67 
Netzhammer, Archbishop, " Life 

of Paracelsus," extract from, 

17 ; repels the calumny against 

him, 158 
Newton, Sir Isaac, his treatise on 

" Opticks," 202 
Nief, August, 163 
Nissensis, Marcus Ambrosius, 271 
Nuremberg, 165 ; refusal of the 

Censor to publish the books of 

Paracelsus, 167 

Occult, study of the, 34, 40, 73 

" Occult Philosophy," treatise on, 

Ochsner, Rudi, 19 

(Ecolampadius, Professor of Theo- 
logy in the University of Basel, 
83, 89; influence on the Re- 
formation, 85 ; his death, 177 

" Open and Visible Diseases," 156 

Oporinus, his treatment of Para- 
celsus, 101 ; at Colmar, 153 ; 
secretarial work, 155 ; returns 
to Basel, 156 ; number of mar- 
riages, 157 ; scurrilous letter 
against Paracelsus, 157. See 

" Opus Paramirum," 172. See 
" Pararnirum " 

" Origins of Invisible Diseases," 
243, 256, 267 

Otto I., Emperor, 10 

Oxford, 66 

Padua, 66 

Paracelsus (Theophrastus Bombast 
von Hohenheim), his birth, 23, 
30; portraits, 23, 63, 64, 71, 
160, 163, 180, 236, 278, 281 ; 
instructions in the names and 
uses of herbs, 24-7 ; religious 
views, 27, 56, 224, 263-70; 
early influences, 27-9, 33 ; at 
Villach, 32, 77, 278; on the 
minerals of Bleiberg, 32 ; at the 
Bergschule, 33 ; at St. Andrew's 
Monastery, 33 ; his study of the 
occult, 34, 40, 73 ; at Basel, 37, 
89 ; adoption of the name Para- 
celsus, 38 ; at Wurzburg, 39 ; 
study of the Bible, 40, 234 ; on the 



evils of necromancy, 41, 73, 245, 
256 ; at Schwatz, 43 ; his chem- 
ical researches, 45, 53 ; opinion 
of alchemical experiments, 46 ; 
" Archidoxa," 46-8 ; use of a 
glossary, 48, 49 ; his new system 
of Natural Philosophy, 50-2 ; 
analyses, 53 ; discovery of zinc, 
53 ; theory of the three basic 
substances, 53, 196, 211, 217; 
other discoveries, 54 ; on the 
proper use of medicines, 55, 57, 
215-7 ; style of writing, 55-7 ; 
" Book of the Three Principles," 
56-60 ; diseases called by their 
cures, 59 ; his travels, 61-73, 
162, 165, 175, 179, 225, 227-30, 
284 ; views on the training of 
doctors, 62,106-14; appearance, 
34, 180, 282, 286 ; surgeon to 
the Dutch army, 67 ; " Diseases 
of Miners," 68 ; mode of travel- 
ling, 69 ; cures, 69, 76, 79, 178, 
230 ; patients, 70, 173, 283 ; 
army surgeon to the Venetians, 
71, 76 ; on the value of travel, 
75; renown as a healer, 76; 
instructions to students, 77, 
97-101 ; at Freiburg-im-Breis- 
gau, 77 ; hostility of doctors, 
77, 93, 129-34, 277, 283 ; visits 
mineral springs, 78, 229 ; at 
Strassburg, 79 ; his surgical 
treatment of Froben, 84 ; diag- 
nosis of the illness of Erasmus, 
84 ; on the character of doctors, 
87, 114; result of his lectures 
in German, 90-2 ; dress, 92, 163, 
282 ; appeal to the magistrates, 
93-5, 134, 168 ; makes his own 
medicines, 94 ; programme of 
his lectures, 95, 104 ; burns 
Avicenna's Canon of Medicine, 
96 ; practical demonstrations, 
97 ; his use of laudanum, 101 ; 
treatise on diseases of the skin, 
115-20 ; the properties of salt, 
115-18, 120-2; the father of 
homoeopathy, 123 ; on the 
causes and treatment of paraly- 
sis, 124-6 ; his system of re- 
form, 127-9, 172; persecutions 
against, 129-37, 225, 237 ; at 
Zurich, 130 ; lampoon, 133 ; 
ordered to be imprisoned, 137 ; 
his flight, 138 ; mode of re- 
venge, 138 ; defence of his prin- 
ciples in " Paragranum," 139- 

45, 146-8 ; letters to Boniface 
Amerbach, 149, 152 ; at Ensis- 
heim, 151 ; Rufach, 151 ; Col- 
mar, 152 ; researches on the 
" French Malady," 156, 166 ; 
ingratitude of his students, 158 ; 
his cellar at Esslingen^ 159, 175; 
habit of working at night, 160, 
162; at St. Gallon, 162, 175; 
Castle Horn, 163 ; Nuremberg, 
165 ; refusal of the Censor to 
publish his works, 167, 172 ; at 
Beretzhausen, 167, 171 ; sim- 
plicity of speech, 170 ; ingrati- 
tude of his patients, 173, 175; 
views on the payment of fees, 
174 ; takes part in the religious 
strife at St. Gallen, 176; his 
account of a comet, 176 ; the 
"Paramirum," 179-83; favour- 
ite mottoes, 180, 238, 282 ; on 
the origins of diseases, 183, 217 ; 
the use of the stars, 185 ; the 
Meteoron, 187, 189 ; maladies 
due to the stars, 188-91 ; simile 
of the alchemist, 191-3 ; De 
Ente Dei, 193 ; appeal td Dr. J. 
von Watt, 195 ; on the value of 
experience, 198 ; the system of 
like to like, 199 ; three anato- 
mies, 201 ; on the development 
according to type, 205-9 ; mod- 
eration in eating, 209 ; mystery 
of nature, 210 ; healing of 
wounds, 213 ; use of the word 
mumia, 214 ; on hereditary and 
specific influences, 218 - 20 ; 
medical missionary work, 223 ; 
at Appenzel, 224; Urnasch, 
224 ; religious treatises, 225, 
266, 268 ; poverty, 226 ; at 
Stertzing, 227 ; treatise on the 
plague, 227 ; death of his father 
228, 279; publication of his 
" Greater Surgery," 231-3, 272, 
275 ; " Prognostications," 234, 
272 ; mystical insight, 234, 239, 
260 ; deep sense of the spiritual, 
234 ; prediction concerning his 
works, 236 ; his system based 
on magnetism, 242 ; use of tele- 
pathy, 244, 271 ; his faith in 
God, 245, 257, 263 ; legendary 
attributes, 249 ; gold-making, 
252-4; views on astrology, 255; 
sorcery, 2568 ; charms against 
diseases, 258 ; characteristics, 
261-4; belief in elemental 



beings, 271 ; healing amulets, 
272 ; precious stones, 272 ; at 
Kronau, 275 ; Pressburg, 276 ; 
Vienna, 277 ; study of the 
mineral resources of Carinthia, 
279 ; at Salzburg, 285 ; illness, 
285-91 ; sufferings, 286 ; last 
wishes, 288-91 ; directions for 
his burial, 289 ; legacies, 290 ; 
death, 291 ; interment, 291 ; 
memorial inscription, 293 ; re- 
moval of his bones, 293 ; exam- 
ination of his skull, 294 
" Paragranum," 96, 171, 224 ; ex- 
tracts from, 139-45, 146-8 
Paralysis, causes and treatment 

of, 124-6 

" Paramirum," 151, 171, 172, 176 ; 
completion, 179, 224 ; various 
editions, 179-82 ; subjects, 183 ; 
extracts from, 185-94, 196-221, 
243, 256-60 

Pare, Ambroise, date of his birth, 
30, 65 ; the " Father of Modern 
Surgery," 65 ; indebtedness to 
Paracelsus, 65 ; his adoption of 
the reform in surgery, 214, 233 
Paris, 63 

Paternion, St., minerals of, 32 
Penser Pass, 228 
Perna, Peter, publishes works of 

Paracelsus, 46, 181 
Peypus, Frederick, 160, 167 
Pfaffers, mineral water of, 229 
Pharmacy, condition of, in 1642, 24 
" Philosophise Sagax," 275 
Pigmaci or spirits of earth, 271 
" Plague, Book of the," 226, 228 
Plague, outbreaks of, 82, 227, 294 
Planets, the spectra of the, 204 
Plotinus, character of his teaching, 


Poland, 68, 77 
Polonium, discovery of, 53 
Porphyry, character of his teach- 
ing, 241 
Pressburg, 276 
" Principles, Book of the Three," 

56, 104, 196 

" Prognostications for Europe 
concerning the years 1530 to 
1534," 160, 166, 234; title-page, 
160 ; wood-cuts, 235, 249 ; 
editions, 274 
Prussia, 68 

Quod Sanguis et Garo Christi ait in 
Pane et Vino, 225 

Ramus, Peter, on the chemical 
researches of Paracelsus, 45 

Ratisbon, 167 

Raurischerthauern, 228 

Reformation, English, causes of 
the, 16 ; the Swiss, 83 

Reichenau, Island of, 2 

Reuchlin, Johann, 79 

Reyssner, Adam, cured of his ill- 
ness, 230 

Rhodes, Island of, defence of, 71 

Riet, 19 

Rihel, Theodosiurn, publishes the 
" Archidoxa," 47 

Ringholz, Father Odilo, on the 
murder of Meinrad, 8 

Roggenhalm hamlet, 225 

Rosicrucianism, 249 ; badge, 250 ; 
the first Brotherhood, 250; 
societies, 251 ; costume of the 
members, 251 ; primeval mys- 
tical culture, 252 

Rottenburg, 2 

Rottenminster, Abbess of, 79 

Rufach, 151 

Ruland, Martin, " Lexicon Al- 
chemicum," 48 

Russia, 72 

Russinger, Abbot Johann Jakob, 
229 ; book dedicated to, 229 

Riitiner, Johann, his diary, 178 

Saccus, Ammonius, 240 

Salerno, 66 

Salt, properties of, 54, 57, 115-8, 
120-2,211; diseases originated 
by corruption, 217 

Salzach River, 285 

Salzburg, 228, 285 ; Museum Caro- 
lina Augusteum, 191, 235 ; St. 
Sebastian's Church, 289, 291 ; 
threatened with cholera, 294 

Save, valley of the, 70 

Sax, Michael von der Hohen, 
Abbot of Pfaffers, 230 

Schamhuber, 21 

Schannis, Abbess Heilwiga of, 6 

Schober, 284. See Strobl 

Scholringer, Bartholomew, 163 

Schubert, Professor, on the theo- 
logical views of Paracelsus, 265 

Schiitz, Michael, 103. See Toxites 

Schwatz, 61 ; the silver-mines and 
laboratories, 43 ; miners, 44 ; 
chemists, 44 

Schwyz, 1 ; quarrels with the 
monks of Einsiedeln, 14 



Science, mystical, insight into the 
study of, 239 

Scorel,his portrait of Paracelsus, 63 

Sebastian's, St., Church, Salzburg, 
289, 291 

Secchi, Padre, his work on the 
stars, 203 

Seligmann, Professor, 294 

Sense, Henry, 262 

" Sermo in Similitudinis," dis- 
course on, 266 

Setznagel, Andree, 288 

Setznagel, Michael, 290, 293 

" Seven Defences," 275, 280 

Sihl river, 4, 21, 25, 286 

Skin, diseases of the, treatise on, 

Sommering, Dr. Thomas von, his 
examination of the skull of 
Paracelsus, 294 

Sorcery, evil of, 245, 256 

Spach, Melchior, 288 

Spain, 66 

Spectrum Analysis, science of, 203 

Spengler, Lazaro, book dedicated 
to, 167 

Spliigen Pass, 230 

Sponheim, 39 

Stanz, Convention of, 28 

Stars, nature and properties, 185, 
188-91 ; maladies due to the, 

Steiner, Heinrich, 231, 234 

Stertzing, outbreak of plague at, 

Stockholm, 67 

Stones, precious, value in healing, 

Strassburg, 79, 89 

Strobl, 284 

Strobl, Ruprecht, 288 

Strunz, Professor Carl, ix 

Strunz, Professor Franz, his lec- 
tures on Paracelsus, ix ; " Life 
and Personality of Paracelsus," 
17, 28, 29, 128, 171, 261-4; his 
preface to the new edition of 
the " Paramirum," 182 

Studer, Christian, his illness, 175 

Studion, Simon, establishes the 
first Rosicrucian Brotherhood, 

Stumpf, his " Swiss Chronicle," 

Suabia, Duchess Reginlinde of, 10 

Suabia, Duke Hermann of, his 
gifts to the Church atEinsiedeln, 

Sudhoff, Dr., " Attempt at a Criti- 
cal Estimate of the Authenticity 
of the Paracelsian Writings," 
viii, 17, 38, 179, 265, 278 

Suleiman II., the Magnificent, 71 

Sulphur, properties of, 54, 57, 58, 
211; diseases originated by cor- 
ruption, 217 

" Surgery, Greater, Book of the," 
66, 68, 214, 224, 228, 230 ; pub- 
lication, 231, 275 ; titles, 231 ; 
dedication, 231, 232 ; wood- 
cuts, 232 ; number of editions, 
233, 274 ; extract from, 254 

" Surgery, Little," 155 

Surgery, reform in the treatment 
of wounds, 214 

" Surgical Books and Writings," 

Sweden, mines of, 68 

Switzerland, cantons nationalised, 
27 ; establishment of the Re- 
formation, 83 

" Tartaric Diseases," treatise on, 
280 ; publication, 281 

Tartarus, meaning of the term, 183 

Taste, the use of, 199 

Tatius, Marcus, his translation of 
" Prognostication " into Latin, 

Telepathy, experiments in, 73 ; 
use of, 244, 245 

Teufels-Briicke, 22 

Teyssenperger, Georg, 290 

Thauern mountains, 228 

Theosophists, use of a cipher, 49 

Tintoretto, 23, 71 

Tischmacher, Caspar, injury to his 
hand, 178; cured by Paracel- 
sus, 178 

Tollinger, Jacob, letter from Para- 
celsus, 284 

Toxites, Dr., publishes the works 
of Paracelsus, 103, 105, 123, 180, 
226, 228, 229, 287 

Transylvania, 68 

Treitenheim, 39 

Trier, 39 

Trithemius, Abbot, 242; his occult 

researches, 39 ; mystical experi- 
ments, 40 ; his gift of telepathy, 

Tubingen, 77 

Type, development according to, 

Tyrol, 44, 229 

Tyrtamos, Theophrastus, 23 



Ulm, 230 
Unterwalden, 1 
Uri, 1 
Urnasch, 224 

Vadianus, 163 ; humanist and re- 
former, 164. See Watt. 

Valentinus, Basilius, his treatise 
" On the Philosopher's Stone," 

Van Helmont, 246, 263 

Varnier, Hans, 231 

Veit, St., 280, 283 

Veltlin, 229 

Vendelinus, upholder of the Gal- 
enic School, 79 

Venice, 71 ; wars of, 71, 76 

Vesalius, Andraes, his discoveries 
in anatomy, 201 

Vienna, 63, 276, 284 

Villach, 31, 70, 77, 278, 284; 
Bergschule of, 32 

" Volumen Medicinse Paramirum 
Theophrasti,' '172. See " Para- 
mirum " 

Waginger, Steffan, 288 

Walchner, the geologist, 78 

Wallachia, 68 

Walter, Abbot, 8 

Watt, Dr. Joachim von, 163 ; 

humanist and reformer, 164 ; 

book dedicated to, 176 ; appeal 

of Paracelsus, 195, 221. See 


Wendl, Andree, legacy to, 290 
Wickram, Konrad, 154 ; book 

dedicated to, 155 
Wildbad, mineral spring at, 78 
Wirtemberg, 77 
Wirtemberg, Count Eberhard of, 


Wirtemberg, Count Urich of, 18 
Wounds, method of healing, 213 
Wiirzburg, 39 

Zellerbad, or Liebenzell, mineral 
springs at, 78 


Zinc, discovery of, 53 ; ointment, 

Zollern, Count, 2 

Zug, 177 

Zurich, 130 ; outbreak of plague, 
82 ; Reformation established 
in, 83 

Zurich, Lake of, 1, 2 ; religious 
houses on the shores of, 6 

Zwingli, 162 ; his attack on the 
system of indulgences at Ein- 
siedeln, 81 ; at Zurich, 82 ; 
appointed Canon of the Gross- 
miinster, 82 ; publishes his 
" Conclusions," 82 ; his influ- 
ence on the Swiss Reformation, 
83; killed at the battle of 
Cappel, 177 

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BF Stoddart, Anna M. 

1598 The life of Paracelsus